Appaloosa is one of the best Western novels that I have read, and Robert Parker’s finest novel. The two principal characters, Virgil Cole and his deputy, Everett Hitch, who narrates the story, are two very well-rounded and likeable characters. Part of the reason that the novel really works is the presence of these two characters. In this story, Cole and Hitch arrive in a new town where the resident bad guy, Randall Bragg, killed the previous marshal and deputy. After they arrest Bragg, he is tried and sentenced to be hanged. This leads up to a climactic gun fight where hired guns are trying to free Bragg. Meanwhile Cole falls for a high maintenance woman that Hitch knows is no good for him. When Bragg returns to town this sets up for a climactic and surprise ending.
There are many things that make Apaloosa work, but what I liked most is the easy going narration style that really complements the mood and content of the novel. The prose is written professionally with few flaws. This is a quickly paced novel packed with plenty of action. Even if you are like me and don’t typically read Westerns, this one is well worth reading.
Carl Alves – author of Blood Street