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"Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens." -- Genesis 19:24

Be sure to read the first two books in this series before Brimstone, Appaloosa and Resolution. You'll enjoy Brimstone much more if you do.

Brimstone is the ancient name for sulfur, that evil smelling mineral that reminds us of rotten eggs. Obviously, Mr. Parker is drawing on the Old Testament habit of picking a name for a place that captures the character of the residents. Let's see what smells.

After the events in Resolution, principled gunman Virgil Cole and long-time acolyte Everett Hitch wander across the west, checking out saloons and other places where ladies of easy virtue reside hoping to find Mrs. Allie French, the object of Virgil's affections during the events in Appaloosa. Then, one day they found her . . . and she was a mess.

Allie tells Virgil she wants to make a fresh start, and the three head off to another town, Brimstone. Once there, they find there's no permanent law . . . and Virgil and Everett soon take that on. The town is booming, filled with saloons and places where men entertain themselves. There's also a man of God, Brother Perceival, who seems interested in getting rid of the sinning in town.

There's also a wild card. Someone is attacking and leaving behind a child's toy arrows. Could this become a threat?

A horrible abduction leads to continuing agony that attracts Allie's motherly instincts.

Naturally, there's a continuing battle to take over the town. Who will succeed? What role will Virgil and Everett play?

Allie finds herself drawn to the church, playing the organ there rather than her habitual saloon piano . . . but just as badly. Her singing still stinks. And her cooking is even worse. But she's devoted to acting as though she can do all the domestic things of a reformed woman. But can she reform?

And if she can reform, can Virgil forget that she ran away with another man?

Brimstone improves as it goes, developing themes about sin and redemption that are unexpected even in a morality tale like this series. The ending is particularly interesting, providing much encouragement to read the fourth book in this series when it becomes available.

As usual, Mr. Parker's plot provides lots of food for thought, but you'll be most drawn to the quiet, principled strength of Virgil Cole (who will remind you of a 19th century Spenser) and the West Point educated Everett Hitch. In fact, you'll probably find yourself imagining that you are one or the other of these characters.

Even more reliably, the terse dialog makes the story sing . . . and it's a song you'll enjoy much more than Allie's screeching.

Ultimately, you'll wonder if they will be able to avoid looking back whenever they leave Brimstone.
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on July 26, 2009
Here we go back to the wild wild west and our two lawmen for hire Everett and Virgil mosey on into yet another town that suffers from too much testosterone. This story is much better plotted and crafted than the 2nd book Resolution. Here the boys find Virgil's long lost love Allie and hire on as deputies in the little town of Brimstone. There's a heavy, a preacher, a crafty native or two, posses, shootings, shagging and the Parker standard buddy talk as Cole and Hitch do some figgurin' and plannin' 'afore the "ball goes up". Was that an 1880s phrase? Where's a good psychologist when you need one? Ah, just some quibble, all in all a good read.
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In this, the third installment of the Virgil Cole/ Everett Hitch series, we find our intrepid heroes in a town called Brimstone where they`ve gone to find Allie, Cole`s old girlfriend from Appaloosa.(These books should be read in sequence).

They then become involved with a saloon keeper and a preacher, a renegade Indian, a kidnapped mother and daughter, and in Allie`s inability to cook, sing or play the piano.

Like all Parker`s books, a quick and entertaining read.
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on September 13, 2014
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