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Appaloosa Hardcover – March 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Corvus (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848873433
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848873438
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,207,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. It's been years since Parker has won a major literary award for a novel (he did collect a Grand Master trophy from MWA in 2002), but that may change with this stunning western, a serious contender for a Spur. This is only Parker's second western, after the Wyatt Earp story Gunman's Rhapsody (or third if you count the Spenser PI quasi-western Potshot), but he takes command of the genre, telling an indelible story of two Old West lawmen. The chief one is Virgil Cole, new marshal of the mining/ranching town of Appaloosa (probably in Colorado); his deputy is Everett Hitch, and it's Hitch who tells the tale, playing Watson to Cole's Holmes. The novel's outline is classic western: Cole and Hitch take on the corrupt rancher, Randall Bragg, who ordered the killing of the previous marshal and his deputy. Bragg is arrested, tried and sentenced to be hung, but hired guns bust him out, leading to a long chase through Indian territory, a traditional high noon (albeit at 2:41 p.m.) shootout between Cole's men and Bragg's, a further escape and, at book's end, a final showdown. Along the way, Cole falls for a piano-playing beauty with a malevolent heart, whose manipulations lead to that final, fatal confrontation. With such familiar elements, Parker breaks no new ground. What he does, and to a magnificent degree, is to invest classic tropes with vigor, through depth of character revealed by a glance, a gesture or even silence. A consummate pro, Parker never tells, always shows, through writing that's bone clean and through a superb transferal of the moral issues of his acclaimed mysteries (e.g., the importance of honor) to the western. This is one of Parker's finest. Agent, Helen Brann. (June) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Taking a break from his long-running series of Spenser novels, Parker moseys back to the Old West. He’s eyed this back-acre before in Gunman’s Rhapsody, a fictionalization of the Wyatt Earp story, but critics feel Appaloosa’s original plot allows him more room to develop his trademark themes of personal honor and masculine camaraderie. With sharp dialogue and a plot that "gallops to a perfect, almost mythical ending," it’s clear that Parker can swap genres and not lose a step (St. Petersburg Times). In fact, a few critics even note that he seems refreshed by the change of scenery.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


More About the Author

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) has long been acknowledged as the dean of American crime fiction. His novel featuring the wise-cracking, street-smart Boston private-eye Spenser earned him a devoted following and reams of critical acclaim, typified by R.W.B. Lewis' comment, "We are witnessing one of the great series in the history of the American detective story" (The New York Times Book Review). In June and October of 2005, Parker had national bestsellers with APPALOOSA and SCHOOL DAYS, and continued his winning streak in February of 2006 with his latest Jesse Stone novel, SEA CHANGE.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Parker attended Colby College in Maine, served with the Army in Korea, and then completed a Ph.D. in English at Boston University. He married his wife Joan in 1956; they raised two sons, David and Daniel. Together the Parkers founded Pearl Productions, a Boston-based independent film company named after their short-haired pointer, Pearl, who has also been featured in many of Parker's novels.

Parker began writing his Spenser novels in 1971 while teaching at Boston's Northeastern University. Little did he suspect then that his witty, literate prose and psychological insights would make him keeper-of-the-flame of America's rich tradition of detective fiction. Parker's fictional Spenser inspired the ABC-TV series Spenser: For Hire. In February 2005, CBS-TV broadcast its highly-rated adaptation of the Jesse Stone novel Stone Cold, which featured Tom Selleck in the lead role as Parker's small-town police chief. The second CBS movie, Night Passage, also scored high ratings, and the third, Death in Paradise, aired on April 30, 2006.

Parker was named Grand Master of the 2002 Edgar Awards by the Mystery Writers of America, an honor shared with earlier masters such as Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen.

Parker died on January 19, 2010, at the age of 77.

Customer Reviews

I'm recommending this book to anyone looking for a fast solid read.
Steve Vernon, horror writer
This first book gets you into the characters but they are more developed in the following books.
Amazon Customer
If you have only seen the movie, buy or borrow the book and read it.
A. Crawford

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By C. Baker VINE VOICE on June 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Robert B. Parker has offered a western written in his usual fast paced, clipped writing style that is highly engaging and entertaining. While not a literary masterpiece, Parker does an excellent job of creating unique fascinating characters, providing subtle insights into them, and posing ethical dilemmas that his characters work out using their own internal moral structure.

Appaloosa introduces us to two marauding law men - Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. The story is told in the first person from the point of view of Hitch, who plays second fiddle to Cole, a seasoned and dangerous gunman. Cole and Hitch are hired by the aldermen of Appaloosa, a town that is being terrorized by a nefarious rancher named Randall Bragg. Bragg and his men murder the previous Marshal and now take whatever they want from the town - be it whiskey, food, or women. Cole and Hitch are hired to put an end to town's suffering. They eventually arrest Bragg for the murder and once convicted help transport him to be hung. Not surprisingly, Bragg escapes with the help of some hired gunmen, two brothers who even Cole is apprehensive of. This leads to, of course, a gun fight between the two sides. Through all this, Cole has fallen for a deeply flawed and dangerous woman, Ms. French, who he refuses to leave despite her treacherous ways. This sets up more drama at the novel's conclusion.

While this western follows a similar plot line as many novels in its genre, and there is nothing really new or unique here, it does have some distinguishing characteristics. First, it's clear that Cole and Hitch walk a fine line between being law abiding citizens and simply assassins, and it's a line they may have crossed in the past, and seem to be in constant danger of crossing in the novel.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Richard B. Schwartz TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As I've written before, it's always good to get Parker off of autopilot, out of Boston and put him on a slight stretch. Under those conditions you see his real skills as a writer. In a different time and a different setting he is forced to develop a sense of place, a sense of language and a sense of character and he's always up to the task. There's no feeling of exaggeration, with heavyhanded indications that he's now in his 'western mode'. The people, places, language, and attentiveness to nuance are all spot on. As in all good genre writing there is a faithfulness to expectation. The plot is traditional--the nasty, tyrannical, lawless rancher vs. the hapless townfolk, who bring in the hired guns--and there are nice set pieces (a tracking scene across great distances, ruminations on gender relationships in the old west, some local color and historical authenticity with a Kiowa brave counting coup). My only reservation concerns the ending, which comes a little too quickly, a little too neatly, and is a tad short on blood, gore, and justice/vengeance. Nevertheless, this is a strong western, at least the equal of its predecessor and top summer reading.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Joseph P. Menta, Jr. VINE VOICE on June 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"Appaloosa" is a quick, involving, but thoughtful reading experience. The characters and situations can be taken on their own terms as exciting story elements, but also as metaphors for old time America making way, for better or worse, for a new America.

It is also very interesting to see Mr. Parker put a new spin on his frequent theme of personal codes and how they make the man: namely, it examines what can happen when a violent but law-abiding sheriff (a guy who is an expert killer but who will kill only when the law says it is okay for him to do so), goes head to head with a rich sociopath who is able to buy the law and make it work to his own advantage.

In the end, one character makes a decision and a sacrifice that allows the old ways to go on a little longer, but it's clear that the victory is a temporary one, and that the slow encroachment of new America- a place of many comforts and benefits, but also a place where wealth often speaks louder than justice- was only temporarily slowed down.

Like "Gunman's Rhapsody" (another western) and "Double Play", this is another of the occasional novels Mr. Parker writes that do not feature any of his popular continuing detective characters. And like all Mr. Parker's novels- the ones that feature continuing characters and the ones that don't- this one is well worth your time.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Leo on December 13, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
**EDIT**
After watching the movie again (twice actually) and reading the book another time, I really rethought the review and the book in general. I have come to realize that this book has a lot going for it and it seems simple only on the surface. Once I reread this book I saw how amazing the story telling really was and I was shocked that I had missed the deep connection between Virgil and Everett through this type of dialogue.
The style I thought was "simplistic" was really akin to an old timer sitting down after the turn of the century and telling is great grandson of his old life. I have fond memories of my grandfather telling me his stories and that renewed my vigor for the book's style.
Now that I have rethought this book I would give it 4+ out of 5. It is just that good to me.
**EDIT**

I have read a lot of the reviews for this book and they range from outstanding, to nothing special. I have to agree with both sides.

I went and saw the movie when it came out and was extremely impressed. I had to buy the book to see where Ed Harris drew this amazing story. Needless to say, I was somewhat disappointed.

This book is very, let me repeat that, VERY simplistic. It reads closely to what I would imagine a screenplay would. It does create an interesting flavor with the strong silent type of narrative in Everett Hitch's voice, but really if I didn't have the movie itself in mind it would have only been a mediocre novel at best.

Buy it only if you are a fan of the author or want another look at the movie.
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