Robert B. Parker, . . Putnam, $25.95 (293pp) ISBN 978-0-399-15571-0
Parker's gunslinging saddle pals Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch return for their third adventure, in which the two lawmen-for-hire exchange snappy dialogue and hot lead with assorted owlhoots, deadbeats and unwashed baddies in south Texas. Here, Virgil and Everett rescue Allie French, Virgil's former sweetie who ran off to become a prostitute, and head to Brimstone, where the two gunmen sign on as deputy sheriffs. Brimstone, however, doesn't exactly provide a quiet respite for this trio. Virgil and Allie have a hard time getting over his hurt and her shame, a mysterious Indian is killing local folks and leaving taunting messages, and brutal saloon owner Pike and corrupt preacher Brother Percival are headed for a showdown. Virgil and Everett settle on a tricky solution that involves a talented tracker, a bribe, a double-cross, a noxious cloud of gun smoke and a pile of perforated bodies. The result is classic Parkerâ€”exciting, suspenseful, fast-moving and entertaining.
Reviewed on: 03/30/2009