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Appaloosa (Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch Series #1)

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Overview

When Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch arrive in Appaloosa, they find a town suffering at the hands of a renegade rancher who’s already left the city marshal and one of his deputies dead. Cole and Hitch are used to cleaning up after scavengers, but this one raises the stakes by playing not with the rules—but with emotion.

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Appaloosa (Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch Series #1)

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Overview

When Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch arrive in Appaloosa, they find a town suffering at the hands of a renegade rancher who’s already left the city marshal and one of his deputies dead. Cole and Hitch are used to cleaning up after scavengers, but this one raises the stakes by playing not with the rules—but with emotion.

Watch a QuickTime trailer for this book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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 total command of the genre, telling a galloping tale 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 story, 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 hanged, 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 dramatic 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 in play, Parker breaks no new ground. But that's irrelevant. What he does do, 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. Agent, Helen Brann. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Best known for his Spenser novels (e.g., Cold Service), popular author Parker likes to break out of the mystery genre once in a while. In this Western (the second after Gunman's Rhapsody), deputy Everett Hitch recounts the struggle between lawman Virgil Cole and outlaw rancher Randall Bragg for control of the little town of Appaloosa. Modeled on Wyatt Earp, Cole is the kind of man who never loses a fight, and he comes close to taking down the murderous Bragg with ease, until Bragg's hired guns rescue him by abducting Cole's romantic interest and using her as a hostage. This precipitates a long chase, a struggle with wandering Kiowa, and a gunfight reminiscent of the OK Corral. 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. Highly recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/05.]-Ken St. Andre, Phoenix P.L. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
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 from Parker (Double Play, 2004, etc.). Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch ride into Appaloosa, Colts slung serviceably low, and are instantly spotted for what they are: town tamers. "They're living off us like coyotes off a buffalo carcass," complains the Appaloosa establishment, meaning a ruthless no-good named Randall Bragg and the hands he employs on his ranch. Their sins include whisky and food consumed but never paid for, horses "borrowed" and not returned, women commandeered whenever. More recently, the marshal and one of his deputies were gunned down in cold blood. Do Cole and Hitch want to replace them? "It's what we do," says Hitch. Marshal Cole and Deputy Hitch then set about posting their rules, the same rules that had transformed Gin Springs, for instance, from a wide-open hellhole to a paradigm of civic virtue. Check your firearms at the town limits, Bragg and his hard-cases are ordered. They obey, though of course it requires a tactical killing or two before the rules are accepted as binding. Enter Mrs. Allison French, a woman more beautiful and more complex than is good for the general peace. Cole is smitten-and awed. "Takes a bath every evenin," he tells his partner. Having seen more of the world than the parochial Cole, West Point graduate Hitch is cautious. Does a dangerous seductress lurk behind the fetching facade? Into town ride the Shelton brothers, quick, mean gunmen several notches above the ordinary. Bragg reappears in the guise of a community booster: slick, plausible and dazzling to shortmemories. Pervading it all is the winsome widow lady's private agenda. Wonderful stuff: notch 51 for Parker.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425204320
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/6/2006
  • Series: Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 121,385
  • Product dimensions: 4.24 (w) x 6.78 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert B. Parker was the author of more than fifty books. He died in January 2010.

Biography

Robert B. Parker began as a student of hard-boiled crime writers such as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, but when he became a crime writer himself, he was one of the rare contemporary authors to be considered on par with his predecessors. The Spenser series, featuring a Boston-based ex-boxer and ex-cop, is one of the genre's most respected and popular fixtures.

Noted for their sharp dialogue and fine character development, the Spenser books carry on a tradition while updating it, particularly in giving its hero two strong alter egos in Hawk, a black friend and right-hand man; and Susan Silverman, Spenser's psychologist love interest. Parker's inclusion of other races and sexual persuasions (several of his novels feature gay characters, a sensibility strengthened in Parker through his sons, both of whom are gay) give a more modern feel to the cases coming into Spenser's office.

The Spenser series, which began with 1973's The Godwulf Manuscript, has an element of toughness that suits its Boston milieu; but it delves just as often into the complex relationship between Silverman and Spenser, and the interplay between the P.I. and Hawk.

By the late ‘80s, Parker had acquired such a reputation that the agent for Raymond Chandler's estate tapped him to finish the legend's last book, Poodle Springs. It was a thankless mission bound to earn criticism, but Parker carried off the task well, thanks to his gift for to-the-point writing and deft plotting. "Parker isn't, even here, the writer Chandler was, but he's not a sentimentalist, and he darkens and deepens Marlowe," the Atlantic concluded. In 1991, Parker took a second crack at Chandler with the Big Sleep sequel Perchance to Dream.

Parker took other detours from Spenser over the years. In 1999, Family Honor introduced Sunny Randall, a female Boston private eye Parker created with actress Helen Hunt in mind. Two years earlier, he introduced L.A.-to-New England cop transplant Jesse Stone in Night Passage. He also authored four bestselling Westerns featuring Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, a few young adult books, as well as several stand-alone novels that were well-received by his many fans.

Parker died suddenly in January 2010 while at home at his desk, working on a book. The cause was a heart attack. He was seventy-seven.

Good To Know

Parker's thesis in graduate school was a study of the private eye in literature that centered on Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Ross MacDonald. Critics would later put him in the same category as those authors.

Parker's main hero is named for Edmund Spenser, the 16th-century author of The Faerie Queene.

Parker had a hand in writing the scripts for some television adaptations of Spenser books starring Robert Urich, who also played Spenser in the ABC series from 1985-88. Urich suffered a battle with cancer and passed away in 2002, but adaptations continue to be made for A&E, starring Joe Mantegna. Parker approved of the new actor, telling the New York Times: ''I looked at Joe and I saw Spenser."

According to a profile in the New York Times, Parker met his wife Joan when the two were toddlers at a birthday party. The two reconnected as freshmen at Colby College and eventually had two sons. They credit the survival of their marriage to a house split into separate living spaces, so that the two can enjoy more independent lives than your average husband and wife.

Parker told fans in a 1999 Barnes & Noble.com chat that he thought his non-series historical novel All Our Yesterdays was "the best thing I've ever written."

Parker had a small speaking part in the 1997 A&E adaptation of Small Vices. How does he have time to write his Spenser books, plus the other series and the adaptation stuff? "Keep in mind, it takes me four or five months to write a novel, which leaves me a lot of time the rest of the year," he told Book magazine. "I don't like to hang around."

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    1. Date of Birth:
      September 17, 1932
    2. Place of Birth:
      Springfield, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      January 18, 2010
    2. Place of Death:
      Cambridge, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Colby College, 1954; M.A., Ph. D. in English, Boston University, 1957, 1971
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 108 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(44)

4 Star

(35)

3 Star

(19)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 108 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 4, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Not a bad Western

    Parker did a good job with this, a fast read,

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2006

    Seldom read westerns

    As the headline suggest I rarely read westerns but liking Robert Parker I decided to give it a chance. I admit I was not disappointed and read it in one sitting. It has a noncomplicated theme so if you are lokking for a complex story you won't find it. The chaacters are interesting as is the story. If you have never read westerns or don't like them this one may change your mind.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I am in love with Everett Hitch! I have been racking my brain to

    I am in love with Everett Hitch! I have been racking my brain to figure out who can play Virgil and Everett in a TV mini-series. The characters are so real and remind me of John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Robert Ryan, and Steve McQueen! I am a middle aged woman and I have read 4 of this series in a week! I am on looking for more!!! Parker's writing is so enjoyable. OMGoodness, did I say I am in love with Everett? Virgil is such a strong ,silent, sensitive and intelligent character. all of what we exect in a post-Civil War hero. I want more!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Almost like the movie.

    I had already read some of Parker's "Jesse Stone" books and enjoyed them. I recently rented "Appaloosa" so when I found out it was also a Parker book, I wanted to read it. I normally like to read the book before the movie, but in this case, the movie followed the book so closely that it didn't really matter. I liked both so much that I plan on reading the rest of the series very soon. One of the things that made this such an enjoyable read was the dialog between Cole and Hitch. The ending was a bit of a surprise but perfect. The fact that the movie followed the book so closely says a lot about the quality of Parker's writing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2010

    Always A Joy

    I am nearing the end of the list in my queat to read all of the books written by Robert B. Parker. As usual, this book doesn't disappoint. Mr. Parker is gifted at not only weaving a complex tale, but at making it amusing, thought provoking, and yet somehow light. The pervasing theme to all of his works remains that of enduring love and friendship, the ability of his characters to communicate with one another wordlessly, and accept these others for who they are. In this regard, the characters of Everett and Virgil mirror those of Spencer and Susan in his detective series. As lawmen / gunslingers they adhere to their own moral code, which guides when and how it is permissible to kill. A code difficult to disagree with, it also includes their views on treatment of women ahead of the time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A bit of fresh air for a typical western

    I decided to check this book out, because the movie looked interesting. It's a typical good guys come into town to clean out the scum that is running things. I love how laid back and yet, tough guys that Virgil and Everett are. The story moves nicely and the plot is believable. I fell in love with these characters. I really enjoyed it. Keep in mind, I've only read one other western, Shane. This the first book in the Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch series. I have read all of them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    VERY GOOD

    I saw the movie based on this novel and could not wait to read the book. I am a few pages away from the ending. I DON'T WANT IT TO END!!! I am going to savor those last few pages!!! I will probably not read the sequels due to not wanting to get caught up in the series, but this is a fast and entertaining read. The author puts the reader in the saddle. I could feel myself in the horse blanket taking in the wild smells, eating beef jerky, eating hardtack with bitter tasting coffee-all around the campfire. God I just loved it. One of the big shootout scenes had me on the edge of my seat. I actually felt the fear experienced by Virgil and Everett just before the fight!!! I was the third man helping them in that gunfight!!! That's how good the writing is--he puts us there with the characters. Can't say enough about this gem of a book. Just hate to see it end. BUY THIS BOOK!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2014

    spottedpine

    He carried Crystalkit, following Mistyrose

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2014

    Mouse to Everyone Important!!!!

    Ok guys listen up! First off, the flies kinda ate all your herbs, but not to fear! Yall can follow Mouses scent to the new camp, Miss Silver Mystery. Mouse and Emberleaf have Lilywolf and Velvetstar in the medicine den there. Emberleaf is keeping an eye on them and Mouse is gone again. I dunno what Lilywolf is gonna do, but Velvets in Starclan because she lost a life. She also wants everyone to head to the new camp because Mouse has hebs stored there. So let move move move!!! ;) ^Mouse^

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2014

    Deercloud

    "Okay." She struggles to walk to the knew camp.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2014

    Cloudy

    "It's okay, Rose," Cloudripple murmured. "Just follow me."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2014

    Flowernose & Halfnight

    Flowernose peeked out of her den, a large supply of tormentil clamd in her jaws. She slowly pads out with the rare yellow flowers to treat the cats who have bites. <p> Halfnight felt different rts of her body twitch uncontrollably from the poison.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2014

    Rosepetal

    Rosepetal quivered in fear, seeing the pain the flies had caused. Pain. Something she absolutely did not like. It hurt to move; she had some bites on herself and she didn't know what to do. The grey tabby slowly rose to her paws, trying to ignore the sting and burn of the bites and eggs. Shaking, she slowly started to walk across camp, to Cometstorm, family. It burned her paws, to the point of scorching them. Her eyes were huge, trying desperately to just stay on her paws. Finally reaching him, Rosepetal hovered close by, pressing her fur against his like he would protect her until Lily, Cloudy, or Ice came around. "Fire," she murmured softly, really light and scared, to Cometstorm. "Where's safe?" She burrowed her head into his flank, her body shaking from pain, burns, exhaustion and heat. ~Rose &hearts~ nice names Misty and Spotted. Remember, if no one else wants to, only then I will rp one. Guys, I *know* I've not been the most active recently, but between AP English and French 3 alone, I've been working my ass off. Then I do 3 other AP homework assignments, sometimes gym (I know, it's dumb), Pre-calculus, Computer Programming, blah blah blah. So that keeps me busy and now I'm working on learning another language (Comet, I may ask for your's or Platinum's help a few times) so yeah. Busy life. Atop the fact I have come to the conclusion that boys are butt holes and I have no friends at school has not put me in the bestest of times. Yay! Not. Anyway, that's the end of my rant and rage. I'll try to be on tomorrow a lot more but I'm gonna start learning Latin tomorrow so I don't know. Bbt or in the coming days.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2014

    Goldenstripe

    (Using my phone) Goldenstripe wearily found his way into the camp, tail dragging and eyes sunken. The clearing looked empty, so he trotted off to leaders den to find Velvetstar.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2014

    Lilywolf to All!

    Well we're all dead! Yay! :D Pft lol or we will be if some cat doesn't do something soon! At least they're all snuggling together! Snuggling to the death! >:) Mwahaha! Lol seriously though Velvet, Goldy, and Lily are screwed. :P ~ Lilywolf &hearts

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2014

    Pridefall

    [I gtg, bbt] ~Pridefall

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2014

    Emberleaf

    Is rescuing peeps. Bbt (YOU'LL THANK ME WHEN VELVET, LILY AND GOLDY LIVE! XD) Emberleaf to da rescue!! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2014

    Seafire and Sunclaw

    Seafire limps over to Deercloud, gritting his teeth to keep from crying out in pain. "Come on," he mumbles to her through the pain, hauling her up. "We have to move before these things hatch." He leans her on him, supporting her. He slowly limps off, spots dancing in his eyes, dragging Deercloud with him. Sunclaw slowly makes his way to the new camp, stopping first to make sure Rosepetal was ok.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2014

    Rainsplash

    "Okay, let's go." He padded out, somehow not noticing his mother yet. [Okay. Title? And sorry, Lily, this training lesson is LOOOONG overdue.]

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2014

    A cat

    Rushes in with some roots. She lais them on the ground then takes the eggs and nomnoms them. Then she takes the last one an decides to make rebel fly troops just in case evil cats raided her clan... (liek the dark forest. Sure it would not count as godmodding if flies attacked the dark forest?)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 108 Customer Reviews

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