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Robert B. Parker's Ironhorse (Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch Series #5)

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For years, Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch have ridden roughshod over rabble-rousers and gun hands in troubled towns like Appaloosa, Resolution, and Brimstone.  Now, newly appointed as Territorial Marshalls, they find themselves traveling by train through the Indian Territories.  Their first marshaling duty starts out as a simple mission to escort Mexican prisoners to the border, but when the Governor of Texas, his wife and daughters climb aboard with their bodyguards and $500,000 in tow, their journey ...

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Robert B. Parker's Ironhorse (Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch Series #5)

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Overview

For years, Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch have ridden roughshod over rabble-rousers and gun hands in troubled towns like Appaloosa, Resolution, and Brimstone.  Now, newly appointed as Territorial Marshalls, they find themselves traveling by train through the Indian Territories.  Their first marshaling duty starts out as a simple mission to escort Mexican prisoners to the border, but when the Governor of Texas, his wife and daughters climb aboard with their bodyguards and $500,000 in tow, their journey suddenly becomes a lot more complicated.

The problem is Bloody Bob Brandice.  He and Virgil have had it out before, an encounter that left Brandice face-down in the street with two .44 slugs lodged in him.  Now, twelve years later on a night train struggling uphill in a thunderstorm, Brandice is back – and he’s not alone.  Cole and Hitch find themselves in the midst of a heist with a horde of very bad men, two beautiful young hostages, and a man with a vendetta he’s determined to carry out.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Parker wrote 68 mystery and western novels before he died in 2010; now screenwriter Knott continues Parker’s popular Virgil Cole series of gritty westerns featuring Parker’s two signature western characters: lawmen-for-hire Cole and Everett Hitch. Knott, however, cannot match Parker’s sharp style and careful blend of action, suspense, and dialogue, producing instead a melodramatic hayburner with a high body count and low excitement. Following Parker’s Blue-Eyed Devil, Virgil and Everett are now territorial U.S. marshals riding a train through the Indian Territories. When a white outlaw gang holds up a train, bullets fly, bodies drop, and female hostages are taken. The steely-eyed, cold-blooded marshals vow to save everyone and “rid this train of these thieves.” After a drawn-out gun battle, the few surviving robbers escape with the hostages but not what they were really after. Virgil, Everett, a steady town constable, and a deadly Choctaw pursue the gang, leading to a predictable, sappy showdown in an abandoned mining camp. Knott sticks to Parker’s portrayals of Virgil and Everett as hard-boiled, badge-toting gunmen whose simple solution to every problem is to shoot everybody in sight, but the result is a disappointing knockoff of a previously successful western series. Agent: Helen Brann, The Helen Brann Agency. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
Not even their creator's death can slow down newly appointed Indian Territory marshal Virgil Cole and his friend and deputy Everett Hitch (Blue-Eyed Devil, 2010, etc.) as they board a train for a routine journey that turns out to be anything but. Virgil and Everett are returning from a trip down south to bring several Mexican prisoners to the Texas border so that they can be summarily executed back home. They don't expect their train to be held up by gunslingers, which are so numerous that the nine they kill barely make a dent in their numbers. What would attract the attention of such a large cadre of lawbreakers? Not just the presence of the governor of Texas and his wife and daughters, but the $500,000 in cash he plans to invest in a business venture, money the robbers have other plans for. Virgil is rarely at a loss, but he's surprised when he realizes that the gunmen include Bloody Bob Brandice, who's just escaped from prison after getting bested by Virgil years before. In addition to being bloody, Brandice is unexpectedly inventive, and the initial robbery turns out to be only the beginning of an increasingly baroque series of maneuvers and countermaneuvers played out first aboard a moving (and eventually a fragmented) train, then in the town of Half Moon Junction, whose leading mercantile establishment is Constable Burton Berkeley's church-turned-whorehouse, and finally, in the back country where only burros and iron men venture. Screenwriter Knott effortlessly handles the nonstop plot complications, doesn't bother to create actual characters and comes a cropper with the laconic dialogue he supplies for Virgil and Everett, who sound like parodies of the strong, silent types Parker created.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399158117
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/8/2013
  • Series: Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch Series , #5
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert B. Parker was the author of seventy books, including the legendary Spenser detective series, the novels featuring Police Chief Jesse Stone, and the acclaimed Virgil Cole–Everett Hitch westerns, as well as the Sunny Randall novels. Winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and long considered the undisputed dean of American crime fiction, he died in January 2010. 

Robert Knott is an actor, writer, and producer. His extensive list of stage, television, and film credits include the feature film Appaloosa based on the Robert B. Parker novel, which he adapted and produced with actor and producer Ed Harris. This is his first novel. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 38 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2013

    Disappointed

    Not up to Robert Parker's snuff.You can tell he didn't write this novel. Some of Virgil and Everetts dialogs are reminiscent of Parker but that's it

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2013

    Henry4440

    Not up to the standards of previous Cole and Hitch novels. The dialogue suffered fom the lack of Parker's writing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2013

    Reads like a cheap Made For TV western action movie

    First of all I loved Appaloosa, both the book and the movie. I've read the other Cole and Hitch novels and generally liked them. I really liked the way Robert B. Parker's characters interacted with each other and the dialog.

    Ironhorse, as written by Robert Knott, is definitely NOT a Robert B. Parker novel. The characters have the same names but the writing, the dialog and the characterization is sorely lacking. Mr. Knott certainly tried to make the dialog snappy and rich but it just fell flat for me. This book reads like a cheap Made For TV western action movie.

    Overall I thought the book was OK but I have to say I was disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    As an avid fan of Robert Parker I am delighted over how wonderfu

    As an avid fan of Robert Parker I am delighted over how wonderful a story-teller and writer his successor is. I'm riveted by the prose and enjoying every page. Congratulations to Robert Knott.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2014

    Great

    Wonderful series

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2014

    Great book! No need to compare to Robert Parker. This book is ex

    Great book! No need to compare to Robert Parker. This book is excellent in its own right.
    Can't wait for the next one! Good job Robert Knott. And. thanks.

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

    Posted January 18, 2014

    Iron horse

    This book is wonderful in continuing Virgil Cole Everett Hitch series, I would request to anyone who likes this books!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 20, 2013

    For some reason this book was not as good as the otheer's

    Book is ok. Really did not keep my attention.

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  • Posted October 18, 2013

    It was not what I expected.

    I thought that this was written by Robert B. Parker when I purchased it. It was a good read but I could tell by reading it that it was not written by Robert B. Parker. It did not have his usual comments between Everett and Virgil. I expected better. Sorry.

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

    Posted September 27, 2014

    Swing and miss

    These book should cost $0.99 and any others written by Knott. Cole and Hitch are now cheap characters and whoever said this book was good needs a hard flick in the middle of their forehead. Then asked if they read the first four of the series. I will only purchase if these books are under $2 and that's because the first four were that good.

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  • Posted July 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The author co-wrote with Robert B. Parker the screenplay for the

    The author co-wrote with Robert B. Parker the screenplay for the movie based on The Master’s last western, “Appaloosa”. So he obviously learned at the foot of the creator of Spenser, Jesse Stone, Sunny Randall, and Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. Short chapters, succinct dialogue and, obviously, a good tight plot. And, to a great extent, succeeds in re-creating it.

    Returning to Appaloosa by rail, the Marshal and his deputy are confronted by a great train robbery. It appears that the governor of Texas, traveling to Indian
    Territory with his wife and two daughters, is carrying $500,000 in cash for a business deal. The Pullman car and following wagons are decoupled from the forward cars and engine on a steep rise, allowing them to roll backward. Eventually, Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch unhook the car they are in to give chase. And so begins the tale.

    While the writing comes close to the Parker style, the almost 400 pages seems a rather lengthy number for a typical Parker novel. And in attempting to emulate the Virgil-Everett conversations a la Parker: close but no cigar. Virgil is hardly a talkative character in previous novels, but in the present one is more voluble. Those comments notwithstanding, it is a well-told story, and is recommended.

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  • Posted July 10, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This novel is definitely not up to the standard that the late Ro

    This novel is definitely not up to the standard that the late Robert Parker set. However, it did still have a few good exchanges between Cole and Hitch and it had a few exciting moments. It just had too many slow points in the story and the ending just wasn't worth the wait. Wind down the series with one more book and give Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch a good send off.

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  • Posted April 26, 2013

    IRONHORSE

    Great Western with Virgil & Everent making White Smoke.

    Hagen

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2013

    AR1

    One of those books you do not want to put down. I cant express enough how much I enjoyed reading this entertaining story. Thank you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    If you love Parker Westerns, you will love this one.

    Virgil and Everett ride again, this time on the Iron Horse. A rollicking good read, full of action and adventure. Don't miss it.

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  • Posted March 3, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Robert Knott does a terrific job at the helm of this classic wes

    Robert Knott does a terrific job at the helm of this classic western series. Virgil and Everett are great characters I would love to see in a movie. Knott didn't have as much of the sharp tongued wittiness that Parker did, but it is still humorous and wildly entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    stylized and awkward

    Not a huge fan of the cowboy genera, but this seemed unnecessarily awkward. Trying too hard to be 'cowboy'. I did enjoy what I felt, what I hoped, were authentic historical references... the introduction of air brakes on trains, for example. That said, not an edge of your seat page turner.

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  • Posted February 15, 2013

    Best of the Post-Parker books IMO

    I've now read three of the books written after Robert Parker's death, and though I liked them all, this was the only one that made feel like it was written by Parker himself. The others were good and showed promise, but Ironhorse got the dialogue right, the pacing, and the authentic, gritty feel of the originals. Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch are just right, and I was very quickly lost in the story. In the Ace Atkins and Michael Brandman books, I was always conscious of the fact that these were not written by Parker. Not that they were bad, or I didn't enjoy them, it just didn't feel like the real thing. Not so with Ironhorse. Cole and Hitch have become two of my favorite fictional characters, and I am very relieved that the vision has not been lost or diluted. Can't wait for the next installment!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    Good read but it ain't Parker

    I enjoyed the book and I don't regret buying it but it lacked the pace and rhythm of Parker. I will probably continue buying the books as I enjoy the boys. It seemed to drag on a little.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2013

    Outstanding

    Thanks to all who are keeping Mr. Parker's characters alive and moving forward, much appreciated. To the anonymous reviewers, what did you read? This was Parker through and through.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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