William W. Johnstone's sequel to "The Last Mountain Man" proves to be a little underwhelming considering the raw intensity and power of the first book. Once again the author brings fast-draw Smoke Jensen and Preacher into a wild west full of gunpowder and iron fists. This one came out in 1986 and marks an important turn of events for Smoke in the long running series.
After his wife Nicole and baby Arthur were killed in the first book our hero lays low for a year or two and bides his time. Soon he straps on the Colt .44s, loads the Henry lever action and sets out for the town of Bury, Idaho where three outlaws, Potter, Stratton and Richards, are running the town off of blood money taken from Smoke's father and brother. He's coming and he's bringing hail with him...not the hot kinda Hell but hail, like a hail of bullets or hard ice. The hard stuff baby.
Smoke's name and famed events from the first book are known throughout the country at this point so he changes his name to Buck (Wild!) so he can get into town a little easier. Once there he settles into town life for a few days so he can understand the layout of the land and scope out a plan of attack to take the three outlaws down. He gains an assist from the old mountain men including Preacher and meets a young school teacher named Sally, who he will later spoon and then fork for babies. But this book is about revenge and that's what Johnstone delivers.
After the first book's exciting turn of events, a rather epic presentation throughout, this one is fairly simple. Buck hits the town, bangs up the baddies, rides home and gets to the real bangin'. It's really that simple kids. However, true to Johnstone's style the book is filled with fast-draw showdowns on the streets of Bury and a climatic finish with a load of gunplay. Overall a decent early entry to a series that delivers way better than this one.