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Appaloosa [Audio CD]

Robert B. Parker , Titus Welliver
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 2005 Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch
New Mexico Territory, 1882: two itinerant lawmen walk their horses down the long, shale-scattered slope into the frontier town of Appaloosa. Below them, lies rancher Randall Braggs' new fiefdom. Ever since he gunned down Appaloosa's marshal, Braggs and his men have owned the town, stealing, beating, murdering with impunity - living off it like coyotes feeding off a dead buffalo carcass. Summoned by Appaloosa's oppressed aldermen, Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch are here to restore the rule of law. They've done it before, they know what to do only too well: shoot quick, shoot clean, reload. But they aren't the only new arrivals in town. The enigmatic Mrs Allison French has stepped off the train with only a dollar to her name, a keen sense of survival and a good eye for a strong man. Finding one isn't going to a problem - Appaloosa is full of them: Cole, Bragg, Hitch. The problem is that Allie French isn't afraid to hedge her bets - and that Virgil Cole's heart isn't as steady as his gun hand. Appaloosa is an intelligent, emotionally profound novel, told in bone-clean prose wryly leavened with whip-sharp dialogue. It's deeply satisfying on four levels: one, it's a well-told historical adventure and a modern re-interpretation of a classic theme; two, it's an ode to unassailable friendship; three, it's a subtle love story between two profoundly flawed people; and four, the way Parker writes, you'd swear the pages turn themselves.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. It's been years since Parker has won a major literary award for a novel (he did collect a Grand Master trophy from MWA in 2002), but that may change with this stunning western, a serious contender for a Spur. This is only Parker's second western, after the Wyatt Earp story Gunman's Rhapsody (or third if you count the Spenser PI quasi-western Potshot), but he takes command of the genre, telling an indelible story of two Old West lawmen. The chief one is Virgil Cole, new marshal of the mining/ranching town of Appaloosa (probably in Colorado); his deputy is Everett Hitch, and it's Hitch who tells the tale, playing Watson to Cole's Holmes. The novel's outline is classic western: Cole and Hitch take on the corrupt rancher, Randall Bragg, who ordered the killing of the previous marshal and his deputy. Bragg is arrested, tried and sentenced to be hung, but hired guns bust him out, leading to a long chase through Indian territory, a traditional high noon (albeit at 2:41 p.m.) shootout between Cole's men and Bragg's, a further escape and, at book's end, a final showdown. Along the way, Cole falls for a piano-playing beauty with a malevolent heart, whose manipulations lead to that final, fatal confrontation. With such familiar elements, Parker breaks no new ground. What he does, and to a magnificent degree, is to invest classic tropes with vigor, through depth of character revealed by a glance, a gesture or even silence. A consummate pro, Parker never tells, always shows, through writing that's bone clean and through a superb transferal of the moral issues of his acclaimed mysteries (e.g., the importance of honor) to the western. This is one of Parker's finest. Agent, Helen Brann. (June) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Randall Bragg owns the small frontier town of Appaloosa. He and his crew assault the women, steal from the merchants, and shoot anyone who gets in the way (including the marshal). Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch have wandered through the west cleaning up towns like Appaloosa. They are hired guns, but they doggedly revere the law. Cole and Hitch back Bragg down with a minimum of bloodshed and, with the help of a formerly recalcitrant witness, convict him of murder. But Cole's weakness for the beautiful but deeply flawed Allie makes possible Bragg's escape. When he eventually returns with a presidential pardon and a veneer of civility, Cole is trapped: if he kills Bragg, he'll have violated his own code, but if he doesn't, he'll lose Allie to his rival. Narrating the story over the distance of many years, Hitch takes stock of his friendship with Cole and achieves a degree of independence. 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 selflessness--and the acceptance of another's flaws--that 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. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
It was a long time ago, now, and there were many gunfights to follow, but I remember as well, perhaps, as I remember anything, the first time I saw Virgil Cole shoot. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars RBP goes Deadwood Nov. 17 2005
By Pol Sixe TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Two laconic buddies quick with their guns, on the side of justice of course, a woman in between to have it explained why why why they do what they do - its Spenser/Hawk/Susan rejigged as Cole/Hitch/Allie. Not quite the same but a lot of similarities to "Cold Service" - written concurrently? A fair read, not exactly Larry McMurtry calibre but an OK "8 gauge". An interesting twist and ending for the heavy. Keep it up Bob, always entertaining, and we'll see how "School Days" fits in.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, this aint a REAL western Aug. 15 2006
As someone who grew up on a ranch and lived a few years in Idaho, I know something about the west, and this book did not come off with much authenticity. I love a good western, but it must be good and real, Like "Lonesome Dove". This book was like a cheap TV version of the west written by some guy from New York City (NEW YORK CITY!!!!!). If you are looking for a story about the real west--modern west--try "Across the High Lonesome."
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but entertaining July 9 2009
By Prairie Pal TOP 1000 REVIEWER
To call Robert B. Parker a formulaic writer is to do him no disservice. Over the years Parker has cranked out novel after novel and found a winning combination of characters and scenarios; readers have gobbled up millions of his products and found long airplane journeys made more pleasant by having one of his books at hand. By now the Spenser and Jesse Stone thrillers pretty much write themselves so it is a relief to find Parker turning to the Western genre.

In "Appaloosa" Parker has created a fine pair of law-making buddies for the dusty plains: Virgil Cole, elemental and tempestuous, and his side-kick, the better-educated and more reflective Everett Hitch. The two of them roam the prairies looking for towns to tame. In Appaloosa they find decent citizens terrorized by local landowner Bragg and his gang of gunmen and set out to bring the villain to justice. Into this mix Parker injects a lady of negotiable virtue who captures Cole's heart but who brings him only danger and misery.

Readers will not mind too much that there is nothing new here; they will be glad to find that it is done well. Parker strains too much at the wild stallion imagery but he can be forgiven for stumbling occasionally in what is a new field for him. Naturally there are sequels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect Western Sept. 19 2011
By Lotusland Lady TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Appaloosa is the first of a series of four stories really, (they are barely novels) featuring Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. The others, Brimstone, Resolution and the Blue-Eyed Devil, all are just a good as the first one. In fact, if you are not swept away and utterly charmed by Appaloosa, give the rest a miss.

I confess to having discovered Robert B. Parker too late for a fan letter, but not too late to hunt up everything he wrote. Most are very good, some are great, and these four books are among his best.

Like most of his books they are primarily "buddy" stories involving characters whose essential flaws are the engines that compel them to be better than the common man. They describe virtue and honor and compassion and love between men whose lives are about as disruptable and dangerous as the life any fictional hero could be.

Hitch and Cole kill ruthlessly and without remorse, their love life is exclusively with whores, they drink continuously and their futures are limited and yet I would give much if my world could be half as fulfilling and I could live in the moment and with the grace of these two friends.

Ultimately Parker was a moralist. He is also a graceful, spare writer with never a false or unnecessary word.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Sept. 13 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
love it
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