Thursday, June 25, 2009

#21: Brimstone by Robert B. Parker

Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, the two laconic gunmen from Robert B. Parker's Appaloosa and Resolution novels, return for a third round in Brimstone, another tightly-wound Western.

Here our lawmen sort out a town in which a somewhat suspicious religious leader carries on a spiritual campaign against the saloons with some heavily-armed "deacons" while a rogue Indian killer nips at the town's heels. But at the center of the story is Virgil Cole's relationship with a serially unfaithful woman, highlighting that even the fastest gun in the West is still susceptible to the p-whip.

I would rate this trilogy highly in the modern Western canon; certainly not at the level of Larry McMurtry or Cormac McCarthy but within shooting range of Elmore Leonard and probably ready to have a showdown with Loren Estleman. Terse writing, leavened with humor, makes this a fast read.

I checked this out from the Farmland Public Library and chewed through it quickly.

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