This is a good old-fashioned story of the American West in the late 1800s with a couple of changes. The story has it’s bad guys, but also the not-too-bad good guys. The not-too-bad good guys are Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. They are not exactly guns-for-hire; they’re more like lawmen-for-hire.
They happen to be excellent/best ever with their guns but they also have principles they call ‘rules.’ They won’t kill anyone just for hire and they’re very protective of women and children.
And, these guys are smart. Hitch graduated from West Point and they both read. They are also quite skilled at analyzing their opponents and using strategy in a showdown. Cole and Hitch make great characters for a good Western story.
In Blue-Eyed Devil Cole and Hitch have come back to Appaloosa to find that Amos Calico is the new Chief of Police and he’s hungry for power. He sees this job as a stepping stone to the governor’s office and possibly the presidency. Every thing he does, he does with that in mind.
As the story opens, however, he needs money so he extorts local businessmen for protection money. Some of the saloon owners refuse to pay the protection money and hire Cole and Hitch as their protection. This puts Cole and Hitch in direct opposition to Amos Calico.
There are lots of layers to this story. You will find comments on the treatment of Indians, women, politicians, and the Civil War. I especially liked the dialogue and the banter between Cole and Hitch. It was very clever and witty.
I listened to this story on an MP3 player. This is something new at the library. They only had about twenty titles but plan to get more. I liked the little player. It was much smaller and lighter than my ipod. The story was read by Titus Welliver who did a great job with the various voices.
The only thing I didn’t like about this story on audio is that I thought it should have been edited slightly. For instance, in all the dialogue there was a lot of ‘he said’ and ‘she said.’ With Mr. Welliver’s good use of various voices for different characters, the ‘he said’ wasn’t necessary.
This is the fourth books Robert B. Parker wrote in the Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch series (*See below). Unfortunately, Mr. Parker died earlier this year so this will be the last one we get to read. It’s too bad because I loved these two characters. They are unique in Western storytelling.
Even though you may think you don’t like to read Westerns, I suggest you give one of these books a try. They are very different from the old Zane Grey style that defined the genre.
I borrowed this book from the library so see if it’s also available at your library. If not, Blue-Eyed Devilis available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)
All four books in the Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch series:
Blue-Eyed Devil, 2010