Cover Image: Rising Fire

Rising Fire

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Member Reviews

I have been reading Johnstone books for many years.  The Johnstone name in the author's block automatically earns the title a spot on my TBR stack.  Johnstone books are about families.  each series has an anchor character whose life and descendants keep the stories galloping forward.  Well defined characters and backstories mean the reader is instantly invested in the current adventure.
This book has at it's heart two of Smoke Jensen's children.  Visiting Europe with her brother, Denise Jensen finds herself the center of attention where ever they travel.  Narrowly escaping a less than honorable suitor, Denny leaves Europe and returns to her home.  Many years later, she is surprised when the man shows up in her hometown.  But not as surprised as he is when he comes up against the Jensen family.  
While this book is a little different from my usual Johnstone books, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Denny get the best of the characters who underestimated her because she is a woman....but didn't factor in she is a Jensen woman.
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As always, Johnstone writes a good story about the Jensens. I really love this series as it gets a little more modern but still is a western. I have to thank Pinnacle, Kensington Books and Netgalley for letting me escape the reality for a couple of hours. Great fun for western lovers.
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Rising Fire  by William and J.A. Johnstone returns the reader to more stories about the Jensen family.  The patriarch, Smoke, as well as other family members have been the focus of other books by the Johnstones.  This particular installment begins with a focus on the Jensen twins, Denise (Denny) and Louis.  The story begins with them in Europe and takes several interesting turns from there.  Louis has a congenital heart issue that leads to him tiring easily and one which could threaten his life.  He is more the scholar in the family while Denny is the typical rough and tumble “tom-boy.”   Louis is more the reader and thinker and Denny the active one; although she is also a very bright young woman.

Denny can out ride and out shoot many (most) men, all the while being a beautiful lass with blond curls and a feminine curvature, obvious when she has on a dress but less obvious when dressed as a ranch hand.  Her physical attraction comes to the attention of a Italian Count Malatesta while she and Louis are visiting in Venice. The count tells her that he is of Sicilian nobility and wines and dines her hoping to make a connection.  He is so charming that Denny is tempted by his suave, continental flare. There are many ups and downs in this relationship but eventually the twins must return to their grandparents in England and then Denny back to the western United States. The Count has certainly underestimated the charming Denny.

About as tempestuous as she can be, Denny is not only the apple of her dad’s eye but also the object of desire and longing for many other men in the town, including a deputy US Marshal, Brice. One day while wandering around town and watching the debarkation of train passengers, Denny is caught off guard even though several years have passed since her adventures in Venice when she sees  someone looking familiar looking getting off the train.  Denny, as she is pondering who it is, gets caught up in a confrontation between two train passengers and several ruffians.  The criminals are handled and then Denny realizes just who the object of their attack is—none other than the Count and his factotum,  She responds in a most unladylike way with a tremendous slap delivered with vengeance to the Count, startling everyone.

Many twists and turns take place through the rest of the story placing not only her life in danger but ultimately her Deputy Marshal admirer as well as the Count.  In good old West fashion, the good guys get the upper hand in this suspenseful battle of two men vying for the attention of the lovely Denny.  The Count’s less than upstanding past comes back to haunt the proceedings as well as him and those with whom he is in contact. 

The storyline is nicely developed with background being introduced at the most appropriate times to keep the reader involved and in suspense.  It is a novel that is hard to put down once the reader begins because one is always wondering, “what next?” Definitely worthwhile.
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In Book 3 of the Jensen Brand series, Rising Fire (Pinnacle Books 2020), Smoke Jensen's son and daughter are in Europe where the doctor's who keep his son's illnesses in check can take better care of him. While taking a tour of the civilized centers of the various countries, Smoke's daughter, Denny, falls in love with a Count who unfortunately turns out to be after her money. She finds out just in time, dumps him, and returns to the family ranch in Colorado. Fast forward ten years and to Denny's surprise, the Count steps off the train in her town. Hoodlums try to gun him down and Denny saves his life before realizing this is the cad she once loved and now wants nothing to do with. He pretends his presence there is simply coincidence but Denny is suspicious, especially when he again acts as though he wants to court her which makes the US Marshall who quietly loves Denny pretty annoyed. It gets a lot more complicated from there. Lies are told. Innocents are accused of crimes. People are killed. And out of it all, a new love is born.

Another great story for the Jensen ecosystem. I love this series.
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