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Blue-Eyed Devil by Robert B. Parker

Blue-Eyed Devil

by Robert B. Parker

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch (4)

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The last entry in Parker's Cole & Hitch series.*

How I will miss new releases from this master story-teller! Not the least of his gifts is that he has never left his readers hanging. Surely he did not plan for Virgil and Everett's story to end here, but it's OK that it does. There are no questions unanswered, nothing to wonder about forever more. Once again our two men of honor have upheld their own peculiar code, saving a town, a comrade and themselves in the process.

*Review written in 2010. As we know now, other authors picked up Parker's characters, including Cole and Hitch. In my opinion, what follows in this series does not do the originals justice. ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Jan 23, 2018 |
A by-the-numbers Western story that is heightened by gold-dust residue left over from previous books in this series. The Cole & Hitch stories have, by this fourth and final book, descended into routine Western troping and minimalist storytelling now so pared back that you still feel hungry after finishing it.

What I admired so much about the first two Cole & Hitch books (and, to a lesser extent, the third one) was that Parker said a lot in between the lines. The plots were streamlined and the dialogue punchy, but somewhat nebulous themes (law and order, friendship, forgiveness, redemption) manifested themselves in all that white space which was left. I love Parker's style and characters and content but, as much as I like Blue-Eyed Devil, I'm not going to claim it's better than it is.

It lacks the punch of previous instalments: yet again, it's Cole and Hitch going up, steely-eyed, against a tinpot bully (landowner, corrupt sheriff, and so on), enlisting help from past acquaintances (and they all show up here, Pony, Rose, Cato…) and wiping everything clean in a big final gunfight. It's very readable, whether Cole and Hitch are shooting black-hats or shooting the shit with each other. But it's nothing that hasn't been done in previous books, and done better.

The introspection and philosophising of the earlier books is now almost completely gone. This would be more palatable if something different was being done with the book, if Parker was trying to take it in a different direction. But he's not trying anything new, just re-using the same formula. Again, that would be fine if not for the fact that there are evidently diminishing returns. It seems Parker started off with a streamlined concept in the first book, Appaloosa, and has been paring it back ever since, receding to such an extent that by the fourth book he's had to start taking out themes and depth in order to keep whittling it down. There's now little meat left on the bone.

It's a great little read, but nothing more than that. I feel rather guilty at criticizing it, but that's largely because the earlier books in the series managed to be great little reads and yet something more. It's a shame Parker died before he could write more in this fine series, for then I would no doubt be talking about a minor blip in a run of great ongoing Cole & Hitch stories, rather than an underwhelming coda to the series. So I remember how great the previous books could be, and try to accept Blue-Eyed Devil as just a quick, clean draw. "And we do kind of like putting together a little firefight like this," as Hitch says on page 258. We do kind of like it. That's enough, I s'pose. ( )
1 vote MikeFutcher | Apr 23, 2017 |
Blue-Eyed Devil by Robert B. Parker is the 4th and last in his western series that features Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. Having come full circle, Cole and Hitch find themselves back in the town of Appaloosa, not as lawmen this time but as saloon bouncers. Their little family includes the love of Virgil’s life, Allie and also Laurel, a young girl they rescued from Apaches. The local sheriff, Amos Callico, is an ambitious man and would rather see the back end of this duo as they are cutting into his payback money and his glory.

This book reads less like a novel and more like an old time Western Serial. Comprised of over sixty two or three page chapters it is a very quick read, but by this time the reader knows these characters and how to fill in all the missing details. The author sets up the story, adds a little tension and ignites the action. Between attacking Apaches and dealing with a corrupt law force, this is an exciting story and an excellent conclusion to this extremely readable series. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Feb 9, 2017 |
I really enjoyed the first book of the series, but this installment felt very disjointed. Blue-Eyed Devil just wasn't up to par with the previous books in this series The action went from zero to ninety in the span of a sentence. I had to back up a couple of times to see if I'd missed some clue to the pending confrontation. It didn't help matters that the narrator was deadpan during these transitions, too.

Despite the obvious problems, I really like Virgil and Everett. I was also thrilled to see Pony and Laurel get together. These intriguing characters will keep me from bailing on the series...yet. I do hope the next book is an improvement, ( )
  Becky_McKenna | Mar 10, 2016 |
Robert B. Parker has created some great characters. His Spenser novels have many of them (with—IMHO—the exception of Susan Silverman). In Blue-Eyed Devil, he reprises two of his most enjoyable, Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. Virgil and Everett are pistoleros of the first order—well, maybe Everett can be otherwise classified because his weapon of choice is an eight-gauge shotgun.

In a previous novel, Virgil and Everett were the sheriffs of Appaloosa (of some unnamed state that sounds like Arizona), but they got bored and left. Now they return to Appaloosa to find that a new man, Amos Callico, has become the chief law enforcement officer, and he has hired a phalanx of deputies. Callico has visions of getting elected to a high office, perhaps even President of the United States. But he is starting out slow, financing his operation primarily through extorting the local businessmen. Virgil and Everett don’t like Amos one bit, and you can bet that won’t be good for Amos in the end.

Virgil and Everett bring justice to Appaloosa (as expected), but they have to fight off a band of raiding Apache warriors as well as Amos’s private army. They manage to do so with rarely uttering a sentence of more than 5 words.

Parker’s writing, as in his Boston detective novels, is crisp and sassy. (Some might say, choppy and silly. But if you love old western comedy movies, you'll love these books too.)

It’s hard to take more than two days to read a Parker novel. They are short, and they are page turners. This one is no exception.

(JAB) ( )
  nbmars | Jan 19, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert B. Parkerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Welliver, TitusNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Law Enforcement in Appaloosa had once been Virgil Cole and me.
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When Appaloosa police chief Amos Callico begins shaking down local merchants for protection money, those who don't want to play along seek the help of Cole and Hitch.

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