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 his 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, 12 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.
©2013 Robert Knott (P)2013 Random House
The pacing, the dialog, and the story were just as Mr. Parker would have written it. Much enjoyed.
Our first Virgil Cole and Everret Hitch novel since the passing of Robert B. Parker. The author stayed true to the characters and their actions. Really didn't notice the writing was not Mr. Parker. Great western novel. We hope there will be more to come.
I was really pleased with' Ironhorse.' Robert Knott picks up the threads of Cole and Hitch's story and does a fine job. Parker fans that are nervous about the new writers taking over the established characters will be glad to know that Mr. Knott was a great choice for this series. Titus Welliver brings the characters and action to life with his usual flair. I can't imagine listening to anyone else reading the "Appaloosa" books.
It's not completely clear whether this book is all-original by Robert Knott, or his completion of a Robert B. Parker manuscript. The title sure suggests Parker started it, and the text copyright is given as "the estate of Robert B. Parker". But an author interview online makes it sound like Knott wrote the whole thing. Knott does appear to be uniquely qualified to pick up Parker's torch, as he co-wrote (with Ed Harris) the screenplay for Appaloosa, based on the first book in the Parker series.
In any case, if it didn't have Knott's name on it you wouldn't guess it wasn't written by Parker. It's written completely in the style that Parker developed for Marshall Virgil Cole and his Deputy Everett Hitch - tough, laconic, fair-minded, decisive, courteous to the ladies and the bad guys' worst nightmares. A little like having two Gary Coopers in High Noon. Virgil does have a breaking point though. He would normally not kill a man unless he was looking him in the eye, but this one SOB abused horses, so ...
Virgil and Everett are back, wrapped up with train robbers of the meanest sort and damsels in distress of the purest sort. The book's a classic western in the tradition of Eastwood's spaghetti westerns. There's never any doubt that the good guys are going to prevail, but it's a lot of fun to watch them do it.
Titus Welliver has narrated every book in the Cole-Hitch audiobook series, and he's the perfect man for the job. Some of the dialog between Virgil and Everett consists of a series of one or two word statements (they never quite say "yup"); Welliver delivers these lines flawlessly, and you're never aware of the author's "Virgil said" or "Everett said". It's like listening to a dialog in a movie.
Newcomers to the series shouldn't miss out on much by starting with this book or any other in the series - the back-story is suggested but not necessary to enjoy the book. Virgil's girlfriend Allie French doesn't make an appearance, but there are several references to her, none necessary to the plot.
This is a great read. I hope Robert Knott carries right on with this remarkable series.
P.S. One quibble: Virgil and Everett backtrack along a railroad line to find Bloody Bob Brandice, who jumped off a quarter-mile back. When Everett says they walked "about a hundred furlongs or so" that tells me he's never watched a horse race. Maybe a hundred rods, if he wants old English measures.
the story line is one sided only a part of what made Robert B Parker characterss live
i would not buy a book from Robert Knott unless it was hid own work and i heard it was MUCH BETTER THEN IRONHORSE
Titus Wellive is the best part of the book
It was good seeing the old friends, but it seemed a bit too formulaic. What snatteg my senses as there seemd to be too much of this dialogue.."I think cows have horns" "Yep, they surely do have horms." "I agree. Horns" I think the messages was they think alike, but its done so many times my head said. "We'd lose a third of the book, if you cut all of the times they repeat each other. Gave it a "paid by the word" feel. I love these stories and I know the author changed, so maybe with a little criticism they can improve...I'd like to keep them alive.
I'd give this one more shot to see if it improves. After that, I'll re-read the earlier books and just be happy with that.
I think he did a great job.
I would the earlier books but probably not this one.
This book follows Robert Parker's earlier books in the series so well that I couldn't tell how much, if any of this was Parker's writing. If you liked the other books in the series, you'll like this one. The "Virgil said" "I said" issue that people have had in the other books wasn't nearly as noticeable, or I've gotten used to it and it didn't annoy me at all.
An enjoyable listen if one likes westerns. I really don't try to determine if Knott writes like Parker or not because I only care about being entertained. This is an entertaining story and Titus Welliver does a great job with the narration.
The narrator sounded bored reading the book so I was bored listening to him. This book reads like a cheap Made For TV western action movie. I loved Appaloosa but I was disappointed in this book.
I have purchased over 400 books. I have high standards for writing and content, but indulge in "travel trash" or fairly good entertainment.
I love Robert B Parker, and enjoyed the Appaloosa series enough to listen to them all twice. I thought I would give this a try because Titus Welliver is a good narrator. I thought he could bring some continuity to the extension of the series and I was hopeful. Frankly I was just bored the whole way through. I listened to the whole thing, being somewhat desperate for entertainment, but this did not deliver. It was like a meal with no salt. No spice, Pretty predictable and a lot of rambling dialogue that did not create interest or depth. So sorry Mr. Knott, good effort. but C-.
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