Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Setting the Bar Low: Dakota Ambush

The last western I read aggressively pulled the average down for literature everywhere.  The plot was silly, the characters cardboard stereotypes, the setting monotonous, the theme childish, and the dialogue laughable.  So when I finally found and read Dakota Ambush (Matt Jensen: The Last Mountain Man, No. 6), a Matt Jenson book by the deceased William W Johnstone (with the help of J.A. Johnstone), living person, I really wasn't expecting much.  I didn't get much, but that was more than I bargained for, and it was clearly a case of a book meeting the goals it set for itself.

Matt Jenson is a Good Guy and a Fast Shot.  He travels about defeating bad guys, who are briefly and unpleasantly surprised by the swiftness of Matt's draw and the steadiness of his aim.  He meets and helps good but inadequate people, such as the relentlessly crusading newspaperman or the lonely (and widowed) boarding house proprietor, and then he moves on, leaving a trail of dead bad guys and the accompanying bodies of the good guys killed before Matt showed up.  In this book, that pile was disconcertingly large, but then postal service was slow in the old days so it took him a while to hear the call for help.  I'm not going to seek out more of these books to read, but reading this book rarely made me squirm with disbelief.

Now I just have to figure out which Dakota to claim this for my 50 States challenge.

No comments: