Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Resolution by Robert B. Parker

This book is the October selection for our local Book Club, the Porch Page Turners.  We have a woman in our group who loves westerns, so we try to include one every year for her.

I must admit that I like westerns too, as well as biographies, fiction, non-fiction, juvenile, young adult...you name it.  If it's a good book, I'll read it.

Parker is the same author who writes about the street-smart Boston private-eye, Spenser, and he is known as the dean of American crime fiction.

He published his first western in 2001, Gunman's Rhapsody.

The two main characters in this book are Everett Hitch and Virgil Cole.  After a bloody confrontation in Appaloosa, Hitch winds up in Resolution.  He takes a job as a lookout at Amos Wolfson's Blackfoot Saloon and becomes the protector of the ladies who work the backrooms.  He is a man who is not afraid to stand up to people when it's required.  He manages to make short work of a hired gun, and tensions begin to mount.  Hitch is relieved when his old friend Virgil Cole arrives on the scene.  But soon they find themselves in the middle of a war between the two businessmen who want to own the town, the local ranchers who are just trying to hold on and make a hardscrabble living, and the miners who work the copper mine.

This was a fast and easy read.  The dialogue is sparse, but they manage to communicate quite a lot in just a few words.  The action is fast paced and justice is meted out usually on the spot...no need for a trial or long incarceration first.  I think this may be the appeal of westerns in today's fast paced complicated society.  It harkens back to a simpler time when men and women on the frontier didn't have any kind of governmental backup and often had to make split second decisions involving life and death and live with the consequences.  Most people probably think of gunslingers as a pretty uneducated lot, but the charm of a Parker western is the fact that Everett Hitch is a former West Point man who is well acquainted with books and reading and philosophy.

If you like westerns, this one should suit you...and even if you don't usually read them, this one would be an enjoyable diversion.

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