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Publisher's Summary

When it comes to writing, Robert B. Parker knows no boundaries. From the iconic Spenser detective series and the novels featuring Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone, to the groundbreaking historical novel Double Play, Parker's imagination has taken readers from Boston to Brooklyn and back again. In Appaloosa, fans are taken on another trip, to the untamed territories of the West during the 1800s.

When Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch arrive in Appaloosa, they find a small, dusty town suffering at the hands of renegade rancher Randall Bragg, a man who has so little regard for the law that he has taken supplies, horses, and women for his own and left the city marshal and one of his deputies for dead. Cole and Hitch, itinerant lawmen, are used to cleaning up after opportunistic thieves, but in Bragg they find an unusually wily adversary, one who raises the stakes by playing not with the rules, but with emotions.

This is Robert B. Parker at his storytelling best.

©2005 Robert B. Parker (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[A] stunning western....This is one of Parker's finest." (Publishers Weekly) "Parker fans will expect the action and the smart-ass banter, but it's the sense of melancholy and irrevocable sacrifice that will separate this fine novel from most of the author's recent work." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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I've read and listen to hundreds of books, and whether they are entertaining, so-so or boring I can't remember any not having a definite theme and plot, even if a poor one--the "plot" being the literal step by step action in a story leading the reader/listener to some conclusion --- the "theme" the moral of the story, what the reader should take away as the main idea.

It's hard to say, but I would say the plot was the hiring of a Marshal and his Deputy to clean up the town ran by the bully who killed the previous Marshal and Deputy. The Marshal falling for a lady (but very little dialog between them) who wanted to be with the top man of the town (the Marshall until someone better came along). That was it!

They rode up in the hills and watched the Appaloosa stallion with his mares (thus the name of the "story"?), but didn't say why, never tied it into anything. I can guess, by the dialog of the Marshal and his Deputy and later when they took the lady with them that it was to drive home a point that a stallion (depicting men) had to be constantly vigilant to keep his mares together and fight other stallions to keep them, the top stallion would get the mares (depicting her). But I'm just guessing, they gave no reason for watching the wild horses.

There was no step by step action that led to a conclusion, no moral of the story that I could see. I listened to the end, and came away with NOTHING!

Titus Welliver has a good reading voice, but there was too many "he said", "she said". It was probably written that way in the book, because when he did talk for the different characters he did well.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Margaret
  • Santa Clara, CA, United States
  • 02-25-13

An easy read.

I you like Parker's writing , and have an afternoon , and don't want to do any heavy brain work this is your book. True buddies to the death . Very loosely based on The OK Corral gun fight. Ended in the middle of the story so the next book is a must.

  • Overall
  • Janne
  • Redding, CA, United States
  • 04-16-11

How to know a good western

I really enjoyed this story and narrator. Good solid story telling with motivations as old as time. The sparseness of the language and the cadence created by "he said" repetitions evoke the western landscape and monotony of life. A good western is as basic as a good fable. I for one am thrilled that Robert B. Parker is writing in this genre. Take a listen to Titus Welliver's languid and thoughtful narration.

  • Overall
  • Steven
  • Gulf Breeze, FL, United States
  • 03-20-11

As good as Louis L'Amour's westerns

I've read every Louis L'Amour book twice, plus Lonesome Dove and many other westerns. This is just as good as all of those. I know the dialogue ends in "he said" a lot, but that's just Parker's style and the great narrator handles it.
The writing is spare and to the point. Unlike many books, there are no extra words.
I also highly recommend the Spenser books, too.
However, I personally think Louis L'Amour's Last of the Breed (a non-western) is the best adventure book I've ever read.

  • Overall

Worth the listen.

I was torn between 3 and 4 stars for this. I ended up giving it 3 because while I enjoyed it, the dialog and character development were just a bit anemic.

The choice of Titus Welliver for the narrator was a good one. He did an excellent job of conveying some of the quirkiness of the characters and his narration almost lifts this book to a 4 star.

Yes, I'd buy and listen to another Robert Parker novel, especially if Mr. Welliver was the narrator.

  • Overall

Robert B Parker... he said she said

Holy mackeral... if you counted the word "Said" in a Robert B Parker novel it would easily rank more counts that "the" or "a"!!!

This guy cannot write dialogue .. period!!

While this is a good story, if you can get past Parker's fatal flaw it is entertaining.

The movie is much better...

I also listed to Resolution, the sequel and it's a little better, but still has the "Virgil Said", "I said" virus.

4 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe
  • Davisburg, MI, USA
  • 04-06-08

Appaloosa (Unabridged)"

Excellent Western Robert b Parker at his best

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What disappointed you about Appaloosa?

Everything...plot boring and undeveloped, characters weak. Im going back to Larry McMurtry. The king of the western novel!

Any additional comments?

Dont waste $ or credits

0 of 1 people found this review helpful