I am going to miss Robert Parker, big time. This is, I believe, the last bok he wrote and was published posthumously.
This book is deceptively short. I...moreI am going to miss Robert Parker, big time. This is, I believe, the last bok he wrote and was published posthumously.
This book is deceptively short. It's themes of loyalty, integrity, honesty, love and friendship are brought to life through the dialogue of the various characters, mostly Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch.
The style reminds me of Ernest Hemingway's six word novels. One review I read slammed it as a poor example of Western Literature. Problem is it's not Western Literature. It's a contemporary themed story set in the Wild West. Cole and Hitchen's ethos would not work in a novel set in the present-day, especially since they specialized in shooting people who broke the rules: rules set by Virgil Cole.
The story itself begins with Virgil and Everett returning to Appaloosa, where the first book in the series took place, and taking jobs as protectors of the peace in the town's various saloons, which the police chief, whom they do not like, was shaking down for protection. Virgil is forced to shoot a leading citizen's son, which leads to many complications. There are also a number of sub-plots involving Virgil's lady love, Allie, a rescued kidnap victim, Apache's on the warpath, friends running from the law, and an assassination plot.
As you might guess, there's a lot going on in a very short time. Parker eschews long detailed description. Instead he uses short pointed dialogue, which allows the reader to fill in the gaps. An average reader can get through this book in 3 to 4 hours, but the story will stay with him or her for a long time. The ending is also short, sweet and satisfying.
I have one suggestion for potential readers and that is to, at least, read the first book in the series, Appaloosa before taking on this one.(less)
Third in this four book series featuring Virgil Cole and his companion, Everett Hitch. Narrated by Everett but full of Parker's terse dialogue, this w...moreThird in this four book series featuring Virgil Cole and his companion, Everett Hitch. Narrated by Everett but full of Parker's terse dialogue, this was a most enjoyable read. I finished it in less than 24 hours. As I so often do with Parker's books, I read this too fast. Somehow, I want to drag out the pleasure of his stories since there are so few left to read and he will be writing no more of them.
This story begins with Virgil and Everett still searching for Allie French, Virgil's first and only love. They find her in a brothel, kidnap her and head for Brimstone to make a fresh start.
When, they arrive, they are sworn in as deputies, because of their reputation. There are three potential trouble spots, a hellfire and damnation preacher who wants to shut down all the saloons, a saloon owner who has his own private army and an Indian who appears to be seeking revenge for past wrongs.
With the sub-plots of Virgil's coming to grips with Allie's infidelities and past behavior plus the responsibility of caring for a teen-age orphan, the action never lets up and the story proceeds at break-neck speed form there.
Parker's strength has always been his dialogue and this story is no exception. The plot is actually heavier than most of Parker's work and contains some surprises. The book ends on a high note as Virgil, Everett, Allie and the orphan head for Appaloosa where the series started. (less)
Written almost 20 years ago, this is a fine example of Burke's writing style and shows off his talent and ability to not only write contemporary crime...moreWritten almost 20 years ago, this is a fine example of Burke's writing style and shows off his talent and ability to not only write contemporary crime thrillers but also historically based western fiction.
This particular story follows the fortunes of Young Son Holland and the more experienced Hugh Allison as they escape from a Louisiana Prison work camp and make their way to join up with Sam Houston's army and fight in the battle of San Jacinto against General Santa Ana.
My rating reflects my ambivalence about this book. I loved it. I hated it. I admired it. I was puzzled by it. One thing is I was never bored by it.
Th...moreMy rating reflects my ambivalence about this book. I loved it. I hated it. I admired it. I was puzzled by it. One thing is I was never bored by it.
There is no plot to speak of just a trek across the American Southwest in the 1850's with company of total reprobates who murder and scalp Indians, Mexicans, Americans and anyone else they run into.
The characters are not in the least bit admirable or likable. The protagonist, the Kid, is a shadow. The major character, the "Judge", is not believable just incredible.
The prose is poetic and at times too dense to penetrate and at other times beautiful. McCarthy's description of the scenery is palpable and puts the reader into the scene as few other books I've read ever have.
The violence is overwhelming and quite frankly helps make the story readable.
To sum up, reading this book is an incredible journey, unfortunately at times it's like a drug induced bad trip.
This sequel to Appaloosa is every bit as well done as its predecessor.
Everett Hitch, the narrator, has left Appaloosa without his partner Virgil Cole...moreThis sequel to Appaloosa is every bit as well done as its predecessor.
Everett Hitch, the narrator, has left Appaloosa without his partner Virgil Cole. He rides into the town of Resolution and is hired by a saloon owner, Mr. Wolfson, to keep peace in the saloon.
Resolution has no sheriff or other government. Four groups are struglling with one another, Wolfson, the townie, Eamon O'Malley, a mine owner, Fritz Stark who owns and manages a lumbering operation and sawmill and a group of homesteaders, led by Bob Redmond, who live in the valley.
The story moves along very quickly, especially when Cato and Rose, two well known gunfighters are hired by O'Malley and Virgil Cole arrives to hang out with his friend Hitch.
As you might guess there is a great deal of conflict and bloodshed which eventually gets itself all sorted out.
Parker's style of driving the plot almost solely with dialogue makes the book a very fast read - less than a day for me. He does not provide much exposition but it's not really necessary because the dialogue tersely describes the situation with the help of the reader's imagination to fill in the gaps.
While I've not always enjoyed Western novels, I love what Parker has done in these two books. Another one is on the way titled Brimstone. I can hardly wait.(less)
If you are a Robert Parker fan, as I am, you will love this book. If you are a fan of Westerns you may not. But then, Elmore Leonard writes Westerns s...moreIf you are a Robert Parker fan, as I am, you will love this book. If you are a fan of Westerns you may not. But then, Elmore Leonard writes Westerns so why not Parker?
It's a spare 290 page book full of terse and laconic dialogue. What Parker novel isn't? I read it in about five or six hours of one slow news day.
The main protagonists, Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, the narrator, do bring up faint images of Spenser and Hawke but mostly in the acceptance of an unwritten and rarely articulated bond between two male friends engaged in dangerous, life threatening work.
Katie Goode, Hitch's prostitute girl friend, does remind me of Susan, Spenser's therapist love, but only in her insights not in how she expresses them.
While many may argue with me on this, I contend that "Appaloosa" is basically a love story between Virgil and Mrs. French with a lot of violence thrown in to keep us hard-boiled novel fans interested.
As evidence, I quote from the penultimate paragraph on the last page, "I saw the appaloosa nervously herding his mares along towards fresh pasture. He's got the mares, I thought. But the mares got him, too." (less)