Sunday, September 15, 2013

Good Reads: Robert B. Parker

As readers of this blog know, my favorite all-time western writer is Elmer Kelton. His books are historically accurate and his characters are true to life; on top of that, he tells a good story. But I've read all of Mr. Kelton's books -- at least twice -- and I needed to find a new author of westerns to read. I may have found one.

I had heard of Robert B. Parker before. Oddly, I first came across his name in Internet searches when I was looking for information on Robert Leroy Parker, the real name of Butch Cassidy. In fact, this is where I originally learned that Parker was the author of the Jesse Stone novels that are the basis of the TV movies starring Tom Selleck. Donna and I have enjoyed these movies; of course, Donna will watch anything with Tom Selleck. So when I learned that Mr. Parker had also written some westerns, I thought I'd give them a try. I'm glad I did.

The first book I picked up was Appaloosa. I didn't know it at the time, but this is actually the first of a series of books featuring the characters of Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. Told by the character of Everett Hitch, the stories follow Cole and Hitch, two men good with guns who usually work as lawmen -- but not always. Not only are the stories entertaining, but I love the conversations Cole and Hitch have. They use few words, know how to get to the heart of the matter, and most of the conversations are laced with an undertone of humor.

Cole is the better gunman of the two, and he is always in charge of every situation in which the two find themselves. Hitch, a former cavalry officer and graduate of West Point, is quite capable as a gunman as well. The two complement each other in their work, and become well-known in their line of work.

Once I finished reading Appaloosa, I checked out other books in the series. If you are interested, they should be read in this order:
  • Appaloosa
  • Resolution
  • Brimstone
  • Blue-Eyed Devil
  • Ironhorse
I've read all of the above except Ironhorse, which does not appear to be in our local library.

Warning: There is a bit of colorful language in all of the books. It's not what I consider an overabundance, but even a little bit is too much for some people.

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