Robert B Parker’s Backjack – Robert Knox

8082018This is Knox’s third novel continuing the tales of the old west’s Marshalls Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. Now I haven’t read any westerns since I’ve been in school many moons ago, but I do love the Spenser and Jessie Stone novels. So, I figured I would try this book simply because it quite literally fell into my lap while I was looking for something else in the library. So, I considered it providence and checked it out.

The writing is very straight-forward, loose, and easy to digest. The scenes are written with clear imagery and I do get the ‘feel’ of the old west. The story lays itself out in a good pace. Boston Bill is in town connected with the construction of a new casino in the quick-growing town of Appaloosa. He’s accompanied by a couple of hired hands to serve as bodyguards… seems Bill has left some trouble behind in Denver, but persons connected with that pursue him to Appaloosa.

It does not end well for the pursuer. This brings men of the Denver constabulary for Boston Bill. Light of foot and swift of steed, Bill and associates flee with our marshals in pursuit. Both trouble and violence ensues. Then the capture and subsequent trial of Boston Bill.

But wait! There’s more. Bill wrangles free of justice’s tentative grip only to be chased again, and caught again. But what we find in the chapter just before the final chapter, crashing in from dead left field… the solution to the ‘trouble’ in Denver.

There have been other Parker novels where the ending came right up out of nowhere, but few so abruptly, and this ending may not have come from the heart of nowhere, it was probably near nowhere’s spleen. But it has not deterred me, but rather encouraged me to order the first in the Cole / Hitch novel Appaloosa from amazon… just to see how Parker writes these men.

In closing, a quote from Boston Bill himself…

“Before,” he said, “I met this beautiful woman, I never knew any one brighter, smarter, or kinder … but then there was always … I don’t know, something unusual. There were glimpses of someone other than her, within her, someone other than the bright, smart, and kind woman I got to know and love. I never was certain why I moved away from her but I knew there was something …”

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