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Friday, May 20, 2011


This is book #3 in J.A. Johnstone’s new western series, “The Loner”.  J.A. was kind enough to send this one to me because the one I had at the house apparently has gone the way of the dodo bird.  Thanks, J.A.!

The two “Loner” books that I’ve read so far have been very entertaining and the series seems to be doing well in readership and sales.  This is especially encouraging because Westerns, over the years, fall in and out of favor.  However, I see plenty of cowboy novels on bookshelves nowadays and this is a good sign. 

J. A.’s uncle, the late William W. Johnstone (I got to call him “Bill”), had sort of introduced the character of Conrad Morgan through the creation of Frank Morgan, Conrad’s father and protagonist of the “Last Gunfighter” novels Bill was still writing (with J.A.) at the time of Bill’s death. 

At the time Bill, Robert Kammen and I were walking the grounds of the Little Big Horn in the summer of 1987, I was more familiar with Bill’s work with the post-apocalyptic “Ashes” series and his unusual horror novels.  I didn’t really see Bill’s Westerns until some years later and now, in reprints, I see them all over the place.

The plot of this particular book is reminiscent of an Indiana Jones story in that there is a search for a lost treasure and the villain is right out of "The Wild, Wild West" (the TV show, not that dung-heap Will Smith movie).  Very interesting book and it moves right along nicely.

“The Loner” series is a good place to start if you’re looking for crackerjack Western novels.  Read them in order, though, if for no other reason than continuity. 

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