This is only the second Johnstone(s) book that I’ve read (despite a history of enjoying western fiction) and for an action-packed western I enjoyed it.
Will Tanner is a U.S. Marshall out of the Oklahoma Territory. He is highly skilled at tracking and hunting down criminals. But this time Tanner is chasing six hardened killers across three states. He’s out of his territory and without back-up – but these men killed a friend of his and he’s not going to let them get away if he can help it. Back home, however, he’s got a girl pining for him to come back and settle down – to take up ranching (a much safer occupation). Will Marshall Tanner survive the hunt and return home to his girl? Will he return with or without the men he’s been tracking?
This is a good, old-fashioned western – meaning the good guys are good and the bad guys are really bad and you pretty much know how it’s all going to end, but it’s the experience of the adventure that makes it worth the read.
As a rough, tough, western hero, Will Tanner stands tall among men. Author Johnstone does as much as possible to make Tanner human (he doubts himself and manages to get caught unaware once), but he’s still nearly super-human, tracking and arresting an entire gang single-handedly. Well, mostly.
Tanner is a great character and a delight to follow … which is good since we don’t really get to know anyone else in the book except superficially.
The story does get just a little repetitive, though Johnstone does try to break up the action with a few scenes with some of the minor characters, and it works to some degree, but since we don’t really get to know them, we tend to be more eager to get back to the main story.
The ending was a little bit of a surprise to me … not what I had anticipated … but I like being surprised (as long as it fits well within the established story, and this does). Overall, and enjoyable western read.
Looking for a good book? Dig Your Own Grave by William W. Johnstone and J.A. Johnstone is a great beach read western and well worth reading for fans of the genre.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Dig Your Own Grave
author(s): William W. Johnstone and J.A. Johnstone
series: Will Tanner #5
publisher: Pinnacle Books
paperback, 304 pages