About this Item
Quantity Available: 1
Title: Gunman's Rhapsody
Publisher: Putnam Pub Group, E Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Publication Date: 2001
Book Condition: New
Dust Jacket Condition: New
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: 1st Edition
About this title
A novel of the Old West, imagined as only Robert B. Parker can.
"He already had a history by the time he first saw her . . . he was already a figure of the dime novels, and he already half-believed in the myth of the gunman that he was creating, even as it created him."
Robert B. Parker, the undisputed dean of American crime fiction, has long been credited with single-handedly resuscitating the private-eye genre. As the creator of the Spenser, Jesse Stone, and Sunny Randall series, he has proven, again and again, that he is "Boston's peerless man of mystery" (Entertainment Weekly). Now he gives his fans the book he always longed to write-a brilliant and evocative novel set against the hardscrabble frontier life of the West, featuring Wyatt Earp.
It is the winter of 1879, and Dodge City has lost its snap. Thirty-one-year-old Wyatt Earp, assistant city marshal, loads his wife and all they own into a wagon, and goes with two of his brothers and their women to Tombstone, Arizona, land of the silver mines. There Earp becomes deputy sheriff, meeting up with the likes of Doc Holliday, Clay Allison, and Bat Masterson and encountering the love of his life, showgirl Josie Marcus. While navigating the constantly shifting alliances of a largely lawless territory, Earp finds himself embroiled in a simmering feud with Johnny Behan, which ultimately erupts in a deadly gunbattle on a dusty street.
Here is the master's take on the hallowed Western, as expertly crafted as the Spenser novels, and with the full weight of American history behind it.
Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, Tombstone, the O.K. Corral--the icons are so firmly embedded in American history that we might know nothing more about them than their names. But in this spare, moody riff on the events leading to the 1881 shootout at the O.K. Corral--the signature battle defining the violence of the Old West--Robert B. Parker shades the black-and-white starkness with shifting tones of gray.
Parker moves beyond the Hollywood version of the shootout to explore the tangle of family loyalties, dirty politics, and passion that embroiled Wyatt Earp before and after his encounter with the Clanton gang. In Parker's version, the longstanding rivalry between the Earps and the cowboys may stem from cultural difference (the Clantons were ranchers who held Confederate sympathies during the Civil War; the Earps were townsfolk who had Union loyalties), and it may be exacerbated by alcohol, machismo, and fiery accusations from both sides. But the spark that leads to the final conflagration is simpler: Wyatt falls in love with Josie Marcus, Sheriff Johnny Behan's beautiful, self-assured companion.
Parker's Wyatt Earp is, like his detective hero Spenser, by turns arrogant and humble, and Earp's firm-jawed struggles with honor, family, and love will feel familiar to fans of that long-running series. But the author has abandoned the series' relatively intricate plotting and its touches of goofy humor. The novel is a curious amalgamation of inexorably linear narrative and moments of static contemplation. It drifts like a tumbleweed through Tombstone, leaving two- and three-month gaps, pausing briefly to dip into moments of conflict and moments of peace.
Gunman's Rhapsody is not a big, sprawling western. Hewing firmly to an understated minimalism, it seems at times to have sprung from a collaboration between Hemingway and a Quaker council. Who would have thought that such an unlikely combination could be so rewarding? --Kelly Flynn
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