Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Brimstone -- Robert B. Parker

If you've been reading this blog for any time at all, you know I'm a hopeless fan of Robert B. Parker.  I don't think anybody bothers to edit his books these days, though.  On page 2 of Brimstone, there's this exchange:

"Railroad station," Cole said.
"Why?" I said.
"No idea," I said.

Either a lines been dropped, or Cole's the one who said "No idea." 

But that doesn't bother me.  I still enjoyed the story.  It's pretty slight.  Cole and Hitch find Allie, the woman Cole loves, after a year's search.  She's pretty much hit bottom, working as a cheap whore, but Cole takes her back.  He just has to kill one man to get her.  Cole, Allie, and Hitch ride into another where Cole and Hitch work as lawmen.   There's a preacher and a saloon owner who get crossways.  An Indian's riding around killing people and horses.  Cole and Hitch take care of business.  

Cole's pretty much Spenser, though not exactly.  In these westerns, he doesn't tell his own story.  Hitch is the first-person narrator, so we get to see Cole through his eyes.  Hitch knows him pretty well, but we rarely get below the surface.  Now and then Hitch and Cole talk about manly things, though not as much as in the earlier two books in the series.

By now, people are pretty evenly divided on Parker.  They've either quit reading him or they'll read whatever he puts out there.  I'm in the latter category.  If you're not, Brimstone's not the place to begin catching up.  If you are, you'll probably have as much fun reading it as I did.  It won't take you long.


Mark Justice said...

I have this on my TBR pile, and I can't wait to get to it. His new Young Spenser novel CHASING THE BEAR is also a lot of fun...for hopeless Parker fans like us.

Randy Johnson said...

Yes, I'm a hopeless Parker fan as well. I don't buy them right away like I used to, waiting until prices hit bottom. I still read them though.

David Cranmer said...

I have been reading him for a quarter of a century and I ain't a-stopping.

Richard R said...


I'm a hopeless fan of many things: ice cream, Chandler, Tolkien are a few. But Parker ran out of gas at about Spenser # 5, and I don't think he's written anything worth reading since.

Lee Goldberg said...

I'm a hopeless fan, too, but there was no fun to be had in this book. It wasn't as awful as the Sunny Randall's, but close. I keep reading Parker even though he's been on a downward creative spiral for some time now. I keep hoping he'll rebound. (The last book of his that I enjoyed was RESOLUTION). This one was also riddled with proofreading errors.


Lee Goldberg said...

You forgot to mention in your example that it was the first time Virgil Cole was referred to as "Cole" instead of "Virgil" in dialog attributions. Up until that point, it was always "Virgil." And, after that, he continues to be referred to as "Virgil" until Parker makes another slip, some 100 pages later.


George said...

Editing is a lost art.