by Robert B. Parker
The Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch Series
A richly imagined novel of the Old West, as spare and vivid as a high plains sunset, from one of the world's most talented performers.
It was a long time ago, now, and there were many gunfights to follow, but I remember as well as I remember anything the first time I saw Virgil Cole shoot. Time slowed down for him. Always steady, and never fast...
When it comes to writing, Robert B. Parker knows no boundaries. From the iconic Spenser detective series and the novels featuring Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone, to the groundbreaking historical novel Double Play, Parker's imagination has taken readers from Boston to Brooklyn and back again. In Appaloosa, fans are taken on another trip, to the untamed territories of the West during the 1800s.
When Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch arrive in Appaloosa, they find a small, dusty town suffering at the hands of renegade rancher Randall Bragg, a man who has so little regard for the law that he has taken supplies, horses, and women for his own and left the city marshal and one of his deputies for dead. Cole and Hitch, itinerant lawmen, are used to cleaning up after opportunistic thieves, but in Bragg they find an unusually wily adversaryone who raises the stakes by playing not with the rules, but with emotions.
This is Robert B. Parker at his storytelling best.
"...beneath the trappings of this gunfighter novel, Parker really has something to say about...men and women in the Old West."
"Parker fans will expect the action and the smart-ass banter, but it's the sense of melancholy and irrevocable sacrifice that will separate this fine novel from most of the author's recent work."
"This is one of Parker's finest." --Publishers Weekly
"Two of crime fiction's wiliest pros, Elmore Leonard and Robert B. Parker, have stepped nimbly out of character with their new books...Robert B. Parker has frequently strayed from his renowned detective Spenser and his home turf, the streets of Boston. One example is Parker's rethink of the OK Corral story, "Gunman's Rhaspody." Like that book, "Appaloosa" is set in the Old West...Like the Spenser books, "Appaloosa" makes good use of Parker's casual mastery of tight-as-a-drum plotting and spare but elegant prose. Also like Spenser's books, it's a study of Parker's enduring themes: buddy relationships, the weight that honor and responsibility put on a man, the consequences of violence, the way good can shade into bad and vice versa...[a] melancholy and sometimes moving take of a lost but fascinating era."
The Seattle Times
"A fast and fast-moving read...The author of more than fifty books, Parker has shown that he can move effortlessly among genres, from mysteries to Westerns to a period sports novel. Readers who appreciate Parker's spare storytelling style and enjoy macho tales of the Old West will especially like this newest from an acknowledged master."
"As good as a prime episode of "Gunsmoke"...This little nostalgic holiday was good for him, and it will refresh his readers too. Parker does not abandon his preoccupations when he switches genre; this is a book about male bonding, about the trouble men have communicating with women, and about unspoken but inviolable codes of honor."
The Boston Globe
"Parker returns to the genre for the fun of it...It's the plot of "Seven Samurai" and "The Magnificent Seven" all over again, with the numbers whittled down and a few twists added...a conclusion that had to make Parker smile as much as his readers will."
Los Angeles Times
"Robert B. Parker has written a western, Appaloosa, with the kind of swagger and tough-guy appeal that we came to expect from his earlier work. Parker provides plenty of action, in dramatic scenes propelled by psychological logic."
Wall Street Journal
"Powerfully good...a straightforward and entertaining yarn."
"An exercise in pure, old-fashioned storytelling...fresh, fast, and sure...the work of a master craftsman."
The Washington Post
"If Spenser and Hawk had been around when the West was wild, they'd have talked like Cole and Hitch...The dialogue shines with a Western drawl in this admirably plotted change of pace...wonderful stuff: notch 51 for Parker."
Kirkus Reviews (starred)
"Parker takes total command of the genre, telling a galloping tale of two Old West lawmen...what [Parker] does, and to magnificent effect, is invest classic tropes with fresh vigor, revealing depth of character by a glance, a gesture or even silence. As always, the writing is bone clean. With Appaloosa Parker manages to translate his signature themes (honor among men) from the mean streets to the wild west in one of his finest books to date."
"The story gallops along to a surprise ending, but beneath the trappings of this gunfighter novel, Parker really has something to say about the nature of men and women in the Old West."
Library Journal (starred review)
"Parker, author of the Spenser, Sunny Randall, and Jesse Stone series, writes ceaselessly about male bonding, codes of honor, and hard men doing hard things. But never has he explored so convincingly the selflessnessand the acceptance of another's flawsthat forms the core of any true friendship. Parker fans will expect the action and the smart-ass banter, but it's the sense of melancholy and irrevocable sacrifice that will separate this fine novel from most of the author's recent work."
Buy the book
paperback | Putnam | 2005 | ISBN: 9780399152771