Saturday, November 20, 2021

Review of "Blue-Eyed Devil," by Robert B. Parker

 Review of

Blue-Eyed Devil, by Robert B. Parker ISBN 9780399156489

Five out of five

Virgil and Everett are no longer the law

 The town of Appaloosa has changed, and Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch are no longer the law. There is a chief of police named Amos Callico and he has a large police force backing him up. Callico is a bit of a dandy, complete down to the pearl-handled Colt that he carries. While Callico is very ambitious regarding his political future, he is also a greedy man. He insists that the local business owners pay him protection money to guarantee that his officers will respond in a timely manner to trouble.

 Unwilling to pay the fees, some of the owners meet with Cole and Hitch and ask them if they would be willing to serve as enforcers of the peace in their establishments. They agree, putting them on the opposite sides of the law, as stated by Callico. At first, he tries to enlist Cole and Hitch, but they decline.

 Former Confederate General Horatio Laird is a significant area landowner, and his son is a significantly spoiled brat, which in this case means he is eager to draw his gun. When the son makes the mistake of drawing on Virgil, he is easily killed, setting up a three-cornered struggle for power. Laird then imports a powerful hired gun for the express purpose of taking on Virgil in a fair fight. A small group of Apaches go on the rampage with their goal to torture and kill as many whites as possible To do this, their plan is to lure the law out of Appaloosa and then enter and burn it to the ground.

 The dialog and action is up to Parker’s usual high standards. Virgil and Everett generally speak few words yet manage to speak volumes. Even though he is likely the best gun in the west, Virgil keeps it low-key, quiet and deadly. The major players form unusual alliances when necessary, particularly General Laird, who remains a man of integrity, even through his grief over the death of his son.

 This is a great story; the conflict comes down to the side of honesty and integrity against the other that has little to none.

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