Friday, August 28, 2009

Brimstone by Robert B. Parker~★★★1/2

Author: Robert B. Parker
Title: Brimstone
Release Date: May 5th, 2009
Publisher: Putnam Adult; read by Titus Welliver
Genre: Fiction

Back of CD Case: "When we last saw Everett Hitch and Virgil Cole, they had just made things right in the Old West town of Resolution. It's now a year later, and Virgil has only one thing on his mind: Allie French, the woman who stole his heart during their days in Appaloosa.
The pair finally locate Allie in a small-town brothel, her body and spirit crushed. Together the three head north to Brimstone. But things are no longer the same between Virgil and Allie, and Virgil can't face what Allie did to get by during the year they were apart. Allie vows to change, and seeks redemption through the local church and its charasmatic leader, Brother Percival. Allie is not alone in her devotion to the hellfire-and-damnation spouting minister, whose sermons have enthralled the townspeople. Percival is quick with the collection plate---and quick to want Allie for his own. Everett and Virgil easily secure positions as the town's deputies thanks to their gun-for-hire reputations, but their authority is immediately challenged when Brother Percival stirs up trouble at local saloons. Violence escalates into murder as Virgil and Everett struggle to keep the peace---and keep Allie from harm's way."

Taryn's Review: I had a long, lonely car trip ahead of myself and decided there was no better way than to entertain myself than with a book on CD. I headed to the library and for some reason an Old Western story caught my attention. It isn't normally my style, but I decided to give it a try.

The book was apparently the third in a trilogy, but honestly, I was able to understand and follow along very easily without having read the backstory. Everett told the story and the two men quickly found Allie living as a prostitute. They took Allie (guns toting, no less) and move on to Brimstone, where they tried and make a new life.

I would argue that story was not only about Brother Percival and the two men, but also about Pike, a local saloon owner who was up to no good. I think he had a bit more stake in the book than Brother Percival did.

The book was entertaining and definitely was a typical Old West good-guys-vs.-bad-guys story. Parker is a good writer, but he tends to use the word "said" frequently when people are speaking. Instead of phrases like, "he mumbled, she whispered, he bellowed, she cried, he boomed," Parker mostly uses, "Virgil said, Everett said, Allie said, he said, and she said." The book would have really been taken up a notch had Parker used that kind of detail. I understand the men were cowboys in Parker's world, but again, I doubt they always said everything in the same tone.

Allie is a very unlikeable character and the reader/listener had to wonder why in the world Virgil is keeping up with her. She was quick to give her body to any man who wanted it and she showed no remorse for it. My other disappointment with the book was that the whole Brother Percival storyline ended in what I would believe to be a very unlikely ending on Brother Percival's part. It was out of character and seemed it was the route taken so the author could wrap the story up easily.

Titus Welliver did a very good job reading the novel. He had a wide array of voice dialects and tones and it was always easy to tell who was speaking. He had a pleasant voice, too, so the novel really was enjoyable to listen to.

I liked this as a fictional Old West story. It's not politcally correct, but just playing off the myths of the past. It was a nice change from my normal books. Parker is a very good writer, albeit not the best, but he was able to carry a good story and keep you wondering what would happen next, guns a-blazing!

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