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Brimstone by Robert B. Parker

Brimstone (edition 2010)

by Robert B. Parker

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4131325,720 (3.74)26
Authors:Robert B. Parker
Info:Berkley (2010), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Brimstone by Robert B. Parker



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A bit of a disappointment after the two previous Cole & Hitch books, Brimstone is still a solid Western. It is as quick as ever to read and Cole and Hitch are both characters you like rooting for. Author Robert B. Parker still retains that knack of saying in a few well-chosen words what many writers couldn't say in pages. You can marvel at this ability or ignore it and just get on with letting the story wash over you: both are good. Either way, this is amiable and rewarding reading.

However, the return of Allie was unwelcome: I'm getting a bit tired of this (frontier-)town-bicycle character and the only time I dislike Virgil Cole is when he is being cuckolded by her. Any tension between her and Everett Hitch dissipates once it becomes clear Cole will forgive her anything. Some of the plot manoeuvrings towards the end also seemed a bit contrived. It ends with another wipe-the-slate-clean gunfight with the Big Bad, only this time it's not just bullet holes which result but plot holes. I guess I just expected more pay-off, something different, but it just felt like I'd re-read Resolution.

That's a shame, because Brimstone did introduce one new theme which deserved to be exploited: religion. One major subplot concerns a militant and abusive preacher and the people who get taken in by him. But aside from one blink-and-you'll-miss-it piece of symbolism on pages 44-5, there's not really anything done to explore this theme of religious hypocrisy, or the role of religion in the development of civilization on the frontier. Maybe that's too heavy for a quick Western thriller, but Parker showed in previous Cole & Hitch books that he could touch on weightier themes in amongst the hard-boiled dialogue. He could have his cake and eat it too. Here, Parker doubles down on the gun-slinging action and on standard Western tropes. It's good, because there's nothing better than a gun-slinging Western story, but it does mean Brimstone is not on the same level as Appaloosa or Resolution.

""Sometimes it's just about shooting," Virgil said.
"Least we're good at that," I said."
(pg. 167) ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jan 14, 2017 |
Not as good as the first installment, but still held my attention. These books aren't terribly long, which is nice if you want a quick story or genre change between other novels. Virgil and Everett are an interesting pair. They tend to wander from town to town as guns for hire, a job they do very well. I enjoy Everett's loyalty to Virgil and how he stays out of his business with Ally. I think Ally needs a reality check. Virgil is being a saint to put up with her shenanigans. Overall a gritty western with strong cowboys and blazing guns.

Listening to this on audio was a little annoying. The narrator does a great job, but all the "he said, she said" (dialogue tags) got on my last nerve. Especially when Virgil and Everett are having one of their monosyllabic conversations. I'll probably stick to the books for the rest of the series. ( )
  Becky_McKenna | Mar 10, 2016 |
Audiobook: I listen to a lot of audiobooks in the summer while mowing the lawn which takes about 4-5 hours and given the substantial rain we have had this summer, it’s at least once a week. It’s nice to have something entertaining while negotiating trees and hills.

This series has been wonderfully engaging. Third in the series featuring Cole and Hitch. They have found Allie, Virgil’s former lover who had run away following the abortive affair in Appaloosa. She was in Brimstone working as a whore. They rescue her from the situation and Virgil and Hitch take jobs in Brimstone as deputy sheriffs while Virgil and Allie try to get back on track. She has found religion under the suspect tutelage of Parnell who seems to be in league with Pike, a local saloon owner who is being tracked by a large Indian. Virgil and Hitch have their hands full.

The series has been continued following Parker’s death by Robert Knott. I am reluctant to
try them as I suspect capturing Parker’s unique style in this western series will be very difficult. The audio version, read by Rex Linn, which I sampled, doesn’t come close to Titus Welliver’s narration in the three original works by Parker. The narrator is very important in any audiobook and Welliver does a wonderful job with Parker’s unique cadence that’s so apparent in both the western and Jesse Stone series.

If you like Jesse Stone, I’m sure you’ll like Cole and Hitch. ( )
  ecw0647 | Jul 20, 2015 |
In the third novel in the series featuring Virgil Cole and his sidekick Everett Hitch, Virgil is looking for his former ladyfriend Allie French, even though she had betrayed him previously. They wind up in the town of Brimstone, where Allie is working as a prostitute. Virgil and Everett work as deputies in the town, and naturally trouble begins to brew. Front and center is Brother Percival, who comes to town preaching fire and brimstone, and tries to shut down all of the saloons and places of ill repute. Pike, who owns the biggest saloon in town and has designs on running the town, is on the other side. Everett and Virgil sit in the middle.

This novel was short and quick-paced with few wasted words. I appreciate Parker’s brevity. I also enjoy the characters. Virgil and Everett are easy-going and easy to like. My biggest problem with this novel is that everything comes too easily for Virgil and Everett. They set out to do something and accomplish it. There is never any point where they are in danger. The outcome is never in doubt. All of this creates a lack of tension. I knew exactly what would happen at the beginning of every scene, because it always goes as they plan it. There are never complications or major obstacles they have to overcome. In the end, this was a fun read but not overly engrossing.

Carl Alves – author of Two For Eternity ( )
  Carl_Alves | Feb 16, 2015 |
I am still enjoying my visits with Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch in Robert Parker’s western series. Brimstone is the third book and it maintains the fun, excitement and entertainment level of this series. . The relationship between the two main characters, their conversations and the unquestioning loyalty that lies between them makes these books some of the best “buddy” stories I have ever read.

The plot is pretty typical of these stories, the two lawmen come in and clean up a town, in this case a saloon owner and a fanatical preacher are going head to head. Virgil has managed to track down his wayward wife, Allie but it remains to be seen if she really has changed and will be able to settle into married life. I am looking forward to the next book already! ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Nov 11, 2014 |
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For Joan: Well worth the pressure
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It's a long ride south through New Mexico and Texas, and it seems even longer when you stop in every run-down, aimless little dried-up town, looking for Allie French.
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New York Times-bestselling author Robert B. Parker takes aim at the Old West with this brilliantly crafted follow-up to Resolution and Appaloosa, again featuring guns-for-hire Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch.

W hen we last saw Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, they had just put things to right in the rough-and-tumble Old West town of Resolution. It's now a year later, and Virgil has only one thing on his mind: Allie French, the woman who stole his heart from their days in Appaloosa. Even though Allie ran off with another man, Virgil is determined to find her, his deputy and partner Everett Hitch at his side. Making their way across New Mexico and Texas, the pair finally discover Allie in a small-town brothel. Her spirit crushed, Allie joins Everett and Virgil as they head north to start over in Brimstone. But things are not the same between Virgil and Allie; too much has happened, and Virgil can't face what Allie did to survive the year they were apart. Vowing to change, Allie thinks she has found redemption through the local church and its sanctimonious leader, Brother Percival. Given their reputations as guns for hire, Everett and Virgil are able to secure positions as the town's deputies. But Brother Percival stirs up trouble at the local saloons, and as the violence escalates into murder, the two struggle to keep the peace.

As sharp and clear as the air over the high desert, Brimstone proves once again that Robert B. Parker is a force of nature (The Boston Globe).
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Everett Hitch and Virgil Cole track down Virgil's sweetheart Allie and the three head north to start over in the town of Brimstone. Given their reputations as guns for hire, Everett and Virgil are able to secure positions as the town's deputies. But a sanctimonious leader of a local church stirs up trouble at the local saloons, and as the violence escalates into murder, the two struggle to keep the peace.… (more)

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