The Whip

Written by Karen Kondazian
Review by John Manhold

Charley Parkhurst was one of the notable Old West stagecoach drivers in the days when this means of travel was the most prevalent manner of transportation west. It was a shock, therefore, when at his death, Charley was found to have been a woman. The discovery was especially shocking because this elite stage driver walked, talked, drank, and smoked like a man and was particularly adept at handling a concord stage pulled by a team of six horses—a feat requiring a great amount of physical dexterity as well as a considerable amount of strength. Speculation as to why Charlotte/Charley changed her identity and embarked upon such a career has always been extensive, but very few verifiable facts have been discovered. Karen Kondazian has gathered what exists and allowed her imagination to weave Charley’s life into an intriguing pattern. She’s done so in a fast-moving tale that quite possibly could be true. The Whip provides an interesting speculative life history for one of the more enigmatic characters of the Old West. Readers familiar with the setting—or who would like to be—will enjoy this tale.