New Mexico Territory, 1882: two itinerant lawmen walk their horses down the long, shale-scattered slope into the frontier town of Appaloosa. Below them, lies rancher Randall Braggs' new fiefdom. Ever since he gunned down Appaloosa's marshal, Braggs and his men have owned the town, stealing, beating, murdering with impunity - living off it like ...
New Mexico Territory, 1882: two itinerant lawmen walk their horses down the long, shale-scattered slope into the frontier town of Appaloosa. Below them, lies rancher Randall Braggs' new fiefdom. Ever since he gunned down Appaloosa's marshal, Braggs and his men have owned the town, stealing, beating, murdering with impunity - living off it like coyotes feeding off a dead buffalo carcass. Summoned by Appaloosa's oppressed aldermen, Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch are here to restore the rule of law. They've done it before, they know what to do only too well: shoot quick, shoot clean, reload. But they aren't the only new arrivals in town. The enigmatic Mrs Allison French has stepped off the train with only a dollar to her name, a keen sense of survival and a good eye for a strong man. Finding one isn't going to a problem - Appaloosa is full of them: Cole, Bragg, Hitch. The problem is that Allie French isn't afraid to hedge her bets - and that Virgil Cole's heart isn't as steady as his gun hand. Appaloosa is an intelligent, emotionally profound novel, told in bone-clean prose wryly leavened with whip-sharp dialogue. It's deeply satisfying on four levels: one, it's a well-told historical adventure and a modern re-interpretation of a classic theme; two, it's an ode to unassailable friendship; three, it's a subtle love story between two profoundly flawed people; and four, the way Parker writes, you'd swear the pages turn themselves.
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This is just a good western. Period. As a man who grew up in NM on a cattle ranch a long time ago, much of what he writes is very accurate. The plot is complex, but easy to follow, and is very character driven. I just love this book and the series of four books that go with it. (see my review of Resolution)
Lillian (Lou) D
Oct 28, 2010
One of the best westerns I've ever read.
For those who see the movie, it was faithful to the story.
The relationship between Virgil and Everett is believable and makes for great reading.
The only complaint I have is it was too short. I hated for it to end.
Aug 19, 2010
The Old West
This excellent story is the first of a four book series of the old West. It reminded me of "Lonesome Dove". The author may have intended to write more of the series but he died in early 2010.
Jul 29, 2010
I read Appaloosa after reading Resolution (its sequel); but that didn't matter. This book stands up to the sequel, which is even better.
Mar 11, 2010
If you like Westerns & Parker's style of writing this is a good one. You should also read Resolution and then Brimstone.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-03-28 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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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