Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Westerns of Robert. B. Parker

I was browsing through the shelves of my local library the other day, searching for a book that I haven't read yet when I stumbled across Appaloosa by Robert B. Parker. I read the first few pages and was hooked. I'd heard of Parker before and knew he wrote detective fiction but I'd never read any of his work. And I was totally unaware that he wrote Westerns.

Appaloosa was made into a movie a few years ago starring Ed Harris and Viggo Mortenson, but I never got the chance to see it. It's just as well though because it would have spoiled the novel for me. Needless to say, when I finished Appaloosa, I quickly read the following books in the series, Resolution and Brimstone. The fourth book is Blue Eyed Devil. I plan on reading it as soon as I can get my hands on it.

He also wrote a Western featuring Wyatt Earp titled Gunman's Rhapsody. Generally, I don't like fictionalized accounts of the lives of real historical figures, but Parker does it very well.

His writing is sharp and to the point with no wasted words. Most of his chapters are rarely more than a scene long, but each scene advances the plot and deepens characterization. If you like Westerns, you can't go wrong with Parker. I highly recommend picking up his work.


  1. Just found your page, and don't know how I've been missing it. Consider yourself followed.

    I saw Appaloosa and thought it a curious movie. It uses the premise of Warlock and plays the relationship between the 2 men (Henry Fonda and Anthony Quinn) and woman (Dorothy Malone) a little differently. I'm going to have to find a copy of the book and see how much the original story was the same/different.

  2. Thanks Ron.

    I never saw Warlock, but it does sound similar to Appaloosa.

    Buddies in the Saddle is a fascinating blog. I don't know how I've been missing it. I posted a link to it on The Western Online link page. I think our readers will find it interesting.

  3. Thanks for the link. What struck me about the ending of Appaloosa is that Ed Harris' character stays and Viggo Mortensen's moves on alone. I can't remember seeing another two-man team split up that way in a western. In all the examples I can think of, one man is left alone because the other one dies or has been killed.

  4. That's how the novel ends. It struck me as odd too, but I liked it because it was different. However, Appaloosa is just the first stage of the story.