Robert B. Parker’s Blackjack

Written by Robert Knott
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch are the territorial marshals in Appaloosa, New Mexico during the late 19th century. A new gambling casino is soon to open, with the flashy Boston Bill as its operator. When a lawman makes an attempt to arrest Boston Bill for murdering a woman back in Denver, one of his bodyguards shoots the lawman on the streets of Appaloosa. Virgil and Everett try and track down Boston Bill not only for this killing but also to arrest him for the crime back in Denver. They are soon joined by Everett’s long-lost brother, a bounty hunter who has clues to Boston Bill’s whereabouts.

This is the newest entry in the western series created by Robert B. Parker. The protagonists are two of my favorite characters, so I always look forward to reading these books. Even though the dialog and action compares with that of past novels, I must admit this book did not fulfill my expectations for the story’s pacing. This novel drags along too often, in comparison with the author’s earlier attempts to capture Mr. Parker’s prose style. This is a minor fault, because I still enjoyed the banter between Virgil and Everett, and the novel’s climax is exciting. I recommend this book and others written by Mr. Knott. A highly enjoyable western series.