Appaloosa (Virgil Cole & Everett Hitch Series Book 1)

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Everett is also a slight variation on the typical RBP character. Everett also likes to have a good time, enjoying his whiskey and regular dalliances with a prostitute he grows fond of. So he seems a bit different from the usual internalized stoics that RBP usually wrote as the good guys. As a long time reader I was sick to death of this trope of his, but it plays better him with Everett in the role of watching a friend make a mistake while doing his best to stand by him and limit the damage.

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It also leads to the most atypical ending that RBP did in his later years. Which is why I never bothered reading any more of the series after that.

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Still, this is an entertaining western, and it also got adapted into a pretty good movie starring Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen. View all 5 comments. Mar 02, Robin Hobb rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: anyone. Robert Parker wrote an amazing series of books about a detective named Spenser. I feel in love with his writing in those books. When he sidestepped into a Western setting, I had my doubts, but they were quickly dispelled.

My husband and I have shared and enjoyed these books several times, and the movie adaptation is fairly faithful to it. I still recommend the book over the movie. It's an unabashedly male view of the tale, completely suited to the character who tells the story. View 2 comments. Appaloosa by Robert B. Excellent western. Tough men good and bad with plenty of action.

Appaloosa (Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch Series #1)

There are showdowns and trials and Kiowa war parties, even a glimpse of a wild Appaloosa stallion with his herd of mares to keep you reading. Highly recommended.

View all 8 comments. Jun 06, Algernon Darth Anyan rated it really liked it Shelves: A nugget of solid gold, if the reader is in the mood for a Western novel. Appaloosa is small town out West. No need to describe it, it should be familiar from countless John Huston movies: one dusty main street in the middle of nowhere leading out into the open prairie, a saloon, a general store, a hotel, a barber and a lawman office.

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There are still some hostile Indian bands up in the hills, but the biggest problem of the city is one rogue rancher up on the range who sends his goons in to grab A nugget of solid gold, if the reader is in the mood for a Western novel. There are still some hostile Indian bands up in the hills, but the biggest problem of the city is one rogue rancher up on the range who sends his goons in to grab whatever they like from the town at gunpoint : a bottle of whisky, a couple of horses from the stable, a woman by force after they beat up her husband.

When the local sheriff tries to arrest the culprits he ends up dead by the ranch gate. So the citizens go to a professional gunslinger and ask him to take on the recently vacated job of peacekeeper. Virgil Cole gets paid to kill people. He may have spent time with the bandits in the past, but right now he works on the side of the law.

There's a catch though in the contract: "My way, or the highway! The law Virgil Cole applies is personal, almost biblical in its tenets. Justice is just a side benefit of doing what the sheriff tells you to do. Virgil is ready to enforce it at gunpoint, making the demarcation line between him and the bad guys hard to see at times. Especially if anybody pisses him off: he has a short fuse and he is liable to lead with his fists. I was surprised at the end of the novel to discover that I made only a couple of bookmarks in the text. That's actually one of the reasons I would say Parker did a great job of letting action speak louder than words, of letting the writer fade in the background and the story to take over.

For me it is the mark of a true storyteller who doesn't try to dazzle me with his erudition or cleverness, who doesn't overanalyze his characters motivations, and whose dialogues flow naturally. There are some drawbacks. For example, I didn't get much of a feel for the place - the town, the scenery felt generic.

Even the highpoint of the conflict seemed borrowed from the events at OK Corrall or a Sergio Leone spaghetti western. In compensation, I felt very comfortable with the main actors, again not an easy task to get right when you work with stock characters and within the confine of genre conventions.

So let's get to the main actors: Virgil Cole is a closed book. He doesn't like to talk about himself, about his past, about his love life. You could say he is monosyllabic.

So we need a second character to shine some light on our Lone Ranger hero. This is Everett Hitch, another gun for hire and translator of his friend's grunts. Everett has been around the block several times, has some experience in the army during the Civil War and as an itinerant gun for hire afterwards, he reads books, is smooth with the ladies of pleasure and actually has a sense of humour.

It helps that he is also a fast draw and handy with a big bore shotgun, the Robert Mitchum sidekick to Cole's impersonation of John Wayne. All this turns Everett into the right choice as the first person narrator of the book. The bad guy, rancher Randall Bragg, starts as a bit of a cardboard cutout, but improves towards the end of the novel as an impersonation of the Progress that will soon come westward on newly laid train tracks: politicians, bankers, investors and corruption will ensure that the towners will still get robbed, just not at gunpoint.

The spanner in the works, metaphorically speaking, is of course a woman, the seductress who can make Cole stumble from the straight and narrow path of the gun. The love triangle and the way it is weaved into the basic story of two people facing each other with hands hovering over the butts of their sixguns, is what elevates the novel for me together with the terse and minimalist writing , above the average action story. I can't wait to watch what Renee Zellweger is doing with the part of Allie French in the movie version, as I think she has a chance to steal the thunder from her male leads.

The same love triangle also shows that Parker can use metaphor when it suits him, leading into the one quote I got and the conclusion of the drama.

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Cole and Allie watch from a highpoint the life of a herd of wild horses: - Is it over? Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch will return for three more Westerns written by Robert B Parker, and I plan to check them out when I feel in the mood for an entertaining and fast read on the beach or during travel. Oh, and in case you wondered what my second bookmark was, it's a bit of coarse humour from the same Everett: - "You got a lot of experience with women, Everett?

I got more notches on my pecker than a handsaw. View all 13 comments. Nov 11, Jason Koivu rated it liked it Shelves: western , fiction , historical-fiction. There's a new marshall in Appaloosa and his word is law. Virgil Cole and his dependable sidekick Everett Hitch are lawmen hired to settle a podunk town out west. Bad guys abound. A woman shows up looking for love in all the wrong places.

Trouble's a'brewin' boys! This is a new-school western framed perfectly in the old school style. Parker better known for his Spenser detective series seems to have been made to write this leather-hide rough action-adventure stuff. Oh the brooding! So There's a new marshall in Appaloosa and his word is law. So much brooding! This is all about tough guys talkin' tough, being tough and takin' no guff! Yeah, there's a woman or two here to represent the sex, but they're mostly whores, or shrews seeking men. This is not to say Parker seems to have anything against women, he just portrays his distant western setting as a place that "good" women wouldn't go.

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Appaloosa 's not high literature. It's a nice, quick fix for your "old west" needs, and as such, it's actually quite well-written comparable to some others I've read. May 14, Mike the Paladin rated it it was amazing Shelves: action , western. The following should be heard by the reader in a slow, laconic, western drawl Well, this here is a story of the old American west. It ain't told as no parody That's a long "o" "ner" is it to make funa' the genre. No sir this here's a "regaler" rip-snorten western. It ain't ashamed o' what it is an' I like it. The western is in many ways "the" American folklore. The "cowboy", the "gunman", the "lawman" and others are as iconic as the knight in armor or samurai. I grew up with the western a The following should be heard by the reader in a slow, laconic, western drawl I grew up with the western and while it has over the last couple of generations become less ubiquitous it stays with us.

It's our Arthurian legend or Charlemagne cycle. The figure is so iconic that it can be used with explanation of the term "cowboy", "gunfighter" or "gunslinger" to most Americans and frankly most people in the world. They know American westerns Stephen King came up with one of the all time great "hook lines" to open his Dark Tower Series, "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. I've not been a huge fan of other things I've read by Mr. Parker though I sometimes think I should be but this book with it's blunt direct story telling and it's characters painted in bold primary colors jerked me right into it.

by Robert B. Parker

I was there riding through the by turns dusty or muddy streets of Appaloosa, on the trail and tracking and standing for the shootout. I can recommend this one and if the ones that follow are as good as this I shall definitely join those who greatly mourn the passing of this fine writer. Parker makes an error early on in the book. It's not something that effects the story so I throw this in here just for those who are interested.

Our "heroes" see a man in "buckskins" and the narrator says something like, "his buckskins looked like he'd worn them since they came from the buck". It can be deer hide, or moose, or elk or even smaller animals. It generally uses wood ash and make a soft leather good for clothes. Just though someone might be interested.