Monday, November 08, 2010

Blue-Eyed Devil: The Last Round Up


With the confusion over the last Spenser book by Robert B. Parker, I hesitate to say that Blue-Eyed Devil is the last we shall see of Parker’s cowboy heroes Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, but as far as I know, it is the last roundup for the boys from Appaloosa. If so, it’s a pretty good one. There is much horse riding and gun shooting and philosophizing about the nature of men, women, personal honor and such. In other words, about what you’d expect from a Robert B. Parker Western.
One thing I did note, and this may or may not have been Parker’s intention, but it seemed that Cole and Hitch were becoming aware that the nature of civilization in the oncoming 20th century might soon make them outmoded. Blue-Eyed devil is about the growing level of civilized laws and rules and politics in the former wild and wooly town of Appaloosa. The boys find themselves at odds with the new Sheriff in town. The Sheriff is running an extortion racket and you know he and Virgil Cole are going to clash, but Cole’s motivations seem a lot less clear than in the earlier books because, right or wrong, crooked or not, the Sheriff is the law and Cole is breaking the law by fighting him. The days of frontier justice are fast fading and it looks like the day may come when Cole and Hitch won’t be laws unto themselves. But as Aragorn would say, it is not this day, and the lead flies and the boys take care of business one more time.
Another thing that caught my attention this time was how Virgil Cole’s love interest, the fickle and unfaithful Allie, is the exact opposite of Spenser’s long time love, Susan Silverman. I guess Parker felt the need to write a female character who wasn’t the perfect woman.
A second Susan connection is Cole mentions that Everett Hitch went to West Point almost as many times as Spenser mentions Susan went to Harvard in the average Spenser book. Kind of funny.
Anyway, I read Blue-Eyed Devil in a sitting and enjoyed it quite a bit. Wish that Cole and Hitch could hit the trail a few more times, but that’s not to be.

2 comments:

Rachel said...

"One thing I did note, and this may or may not have been Parker’s intention, but it seemed that Cole and Hitch were becoming aware that the nature of civilization in the oncoming 20th century might soon make them outmoded."

I noticed this, as well, and spent a lot of my time deliberating on how it was affecting the men. It was one reason I liked the sparse writing so much. So many possibilities were left open; though, as you said, the lead flies so they seemed to take it in stride. :)

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Something that I thought might have been fun would have been for Parker to take Virgil and Everett East for a book. Maybe have them visit New York or Boston. I could see Allie running off to the city and Virgil going after her.