I read this book about 13-Feb-2016. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2008. This note was last modified Sunday, 14-Feb-2016 14:28:58 PST.
This is book 2 of the "Cole and Hitch" series.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
On Corwin's recommendation, I'm giving Parker's western series a try. This is the second book—earliest one sitting on the shelf at my branch library, and I guessed that the overarching plot arcs weren't too important.
I won at least half-way, I didn't find anything hard to understand without having read the first book.
And I did enjoy it a lot. One might claim that Cole and Hitch talk rather too much like Spenser and Hawk in their laconic "we understand each other perfectly" mode, but that's not that bit a flaw (unless you hate that style).
Hitch is working basically as a hired gun, keeping order in a saloon and being available for other problems. The town has no actual lawmen, and no actual government either. And the local business-owners are ramping up to a fight, nobody is quite sure for what (there really isn't anything valuable to be fought over).
Cole shows up to join him. They had been semi-real "lawmen" in Apaloosa (looks like these books are mostly named for towns), hired by an unelected town council and enforcing laws they wrote themselves—but laws they felt were fair and proper.
Virgil Cole in particular has always divided actions fairly sharply between legal and illegal, and used that to guide his own behavior. After Apaloosa, though, he apparently went and tracked down the man his woman ran off with, and shot him, basically in cold blood (he gave the man a chance to draw, but for an amateur against a top professional that's no chance at all; and the man refused, and Virgil shot him anyway). Virgil is now rethinking his mental map. And not deciding to break free and do anything he wants, either; but finding a way to limit his actions despite having once transgressed.
This one was a lot of fun, felt somehow authentic (I wouldn't know, haven't read that much real history of the period). Looking forward to reading more.