Robert B. Parker
Putnam, 2008 (2008)
Reviewed by Tim Davis
eaders familiar with Robert B. Parker's extensive body of work (nearly sixty books), especially his first-rate Spenser novels (there are thirty-three of them), know that Parker is frequently concerned with a universal theme: the moral ambiguity of violence within the context of the perpetual battle between good and evil. So, when readers of Parker's Spenser novels pick up his latest work,
, they may be a bit surprised at the setting (a small town in the American wild west of the 19th century) and the characters (Everett Hitch and Virgil Cole, two complicated lone-wolves who were last seen in Parker's
), but readers will not be at all surprised to discover another magnificent reworking of Parker's good-versus-evil theme.
hen the non-stop action begins, Everett Hitch has just arrived in Resolution, a mining and ranching town that is remarkable in many ways, not the least of which is its absolute lawlessness. Without any sheriff to rely upon for law and order, the people in Resolution have instead learned to rely upon themselves. In that kind of free-for-all environment, whoever can show the most force (however deadly it may have to be) will usually prevail in any dispute over who is right and who is wrong.
pon his arrival in town, Everett quickly hires on as a shotgun wielding peace-keeper at the Blackfoot Saloon, and he soon finds himself up against plenty of trouble-makers. A series of intense encounters shows everyone in Resolution that Everett is a more than capable man with a singular sense of honor and justice; in particular, and to the dismay of many, Everett establishes a reputation for a man who will steadfastly defend the rights of the otherwise undefended, including the town's prostitutes.
eanwhile, explosive pressures are building between two of the town's more prominent businessmen - Amos Wolfson, the owner of the Blackfoot Saloon, and Eamon O'Malley, the owner of the local copper mine. Area ranchers feel themselves caught in the middle of the escalating and deadly tensions between Wolfson and O'Malley, both of whom are relying upon hired gunmen to sort out their differences and increase their domination over everyone in Resolution.
nto this cauldron of problems comes Everett Hitch's longtime friend, Virgil Cole, arriving in Resolution and leaving a complicated trail of problems behind him. Now, out of personal necessity (for their own survival) and a sense of duty (to those who remain particularly defenseless in Resolution), Everett and Virgil join forces, and with the death rate steadily climbing in and around the dusty western town, the action in the highly recommended
builds to a raging, pulse-pounding pace. Fast, exciting, and entertaining, Robert B. Parker's latest old-fashioned Western is another superb example of this veteran author's top-notch storytelling talents.
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