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: 142,219
  • Product dimensions: 4.24 (w) x 6.78 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert B.  Parker

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
( 91 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(30)

4 Star

(35)

3 Star

(17)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 91 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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  • Posted February 14, 2014

    easy read

    you can put this one down to do something else

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2013

    APPALOOSA IS HERE

    APPALOOSA IS HERE

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    A nice diversion from the mainstream you will enjoy!

    Parker's characters are no-nonsense, write and wrong types of guys. The story moves along nicely, and without the gore, graphic sex, and raunchy language which comes in many other books these days. I'm reading the third in the series now, and have enjoyed them all.

    Because I read a lot of historical fiction I gave the series a try, and am not disappointed.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2012

    What a wonderful series

    I was looking for a book to read from the library a while back and just happened upon this book. I was addicted by the forward. Crazy as that seems, but I found this book a wonderful gateway into the wild west by an author that I had heard nothing about. But to my delight, I have now found an appreciation for him and his writing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2012

    very good western read, worth reading!

    Very enjoyable book,I really like westerns,and this one fills the bill!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2011

    Unbelievable characters

    The hero, Virgil Cole is an arrogant bully who is unbelievably capable. His sidekick, Everett Hitch, caters to his every whim. I prefer my characters a little more human.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 23, 2011

    GOOD but EXPENSIVE Read

    Can't say I'm disappointed in the least with Parker's style or content. Definitely a good read. $7.99 for 173 e-pages is a bit steep.

    You can get any number of greater length books from the likes of Nesbitt, Compton, Johnstone, L'Amour, Brandvold, Kelton, etc., for under $5.00.

    Also don't understand why the ebook sells for more than the paperback. It's not even a "LEND ME" :(

    Perhaps NookBooks will start to cost MORE just like online banking and payment services. They will start to attach "Convenience Fees"?

    LOVE the characters, and would LOVE to read more in their adventures. Definiitely engrossing and typically enjoyable albeit costly. Probably wouldn't reccommend based on cost alone, and probably won't be reading subsequent Parker novels for the same reason.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2009

    Great Read!

    Was fun to read a good old western. Parker's style is easy to read and this book has an interesting plot. Our book club chose it as our western selection and all agreed it was a worthwhile read.

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  • Posted October 20, 2009

    Another smooth read from Parker

    Cole and Hitch are comfortable characters with interesting standards for their time.

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  • Posted September 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    True Western

    The detail and clarity in this novel was first-rate. As one reviewer said,the author does put you in the saddle. He allowed the reader to be there and experience the old west. The story was very entertaining.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 20, 2009

    This and Brimstone are great fun

    Can't wait for his next one. Also am enjoying his Jesse Stone series

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Appaloosa, a different sort of western.

    I love the characters of Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. They're outside your normal western characters. The story fluently moves and the ending isn't what you expect.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 23, 2009

    Effortless relaxation

    The plot is predictable, the characters may be more real than many would guess, the flow is smooth and overall a good days light reading. Don't read to much into it, just let yourself go with the flow and enjoy. A lot like the old westerns i grew up watching on tv with the exception that the good guys are more realistic. The first western i've read in years, but i'll probably try another soon.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 91 Customer Reviews

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