Everett Hitch and Virgil Cole

Created by Robert B. Parker (1932-2010)

It could be argued -- and given a beer or two, I would -- that town-taming gunslingers EVERETT HITCH and VIRGIL COLE are private eyes in deed, if not in name. Roaming the old West in the last part of the nineteenth century, essentially serving as lawmen-for-hire, there are at least as many echoes of Hammett and Chandler (and of course Spenser) as there are of Grey or L'Amour. And certainly there are precedents for town-taming in the hard-boiled canon. after all, what do you think Red Harvest was, but a gussied-up western?

Taciturn and pragmatic, violent when necessary and hard-boiled and loyal to a fault, the stoic Cole and the only slightly less tight-lipped narrator (and buffalo-gun-wielding deputy) Hitch are like a horse opera Spenser and Hawk, but without the glib banter, replaced by a dry dustiness of silence in these books as big as the West itself, that makes reading them a unique please -- and one any hard-boiled fan (and certainly any Parker fan) might well enjoy, despite the trappings. There's space in these books to allow a reader to breathe, and enjoy Parker's usual obsessions, of honour and loyalty, of friendship and love, of autonomy and morality and even, yes, romantic love.

Suffice it to say that Allie French, the piano-pounding tramp that Virgil chases across the West, is no Susan Silverman.


  • "Robert B. Parker was a wonderful writer, although he even made a few errors from time to time. Like recently, in Blue Eyed Devil Sheriff Callico's Colt was described on the inside fly cover as "Pearl Handled" later in the book it was described as "Black Handled". Minor mistakes, but correctable and many times found by people like myself who notice those types of things... The description of the long-gun carried by Everett Hitch is also incorrect. It is not a "Buffalo Gun" but an 8 gauge double-barreled shotgun similar to what may have been issued to shotgun messengers by Wells Fargo & Co. During this period, they also issued 10 gauge and 12 gauge shotguns."

-- Jack Furr, Director of Training, Firebase Academy



  • APPALOOSA...Buy this DVD...Buy this Blu-ray
    (2008, CBS)
    30-minute episodes
    Based on the novel by Robert B. Parker
    Screenplay by Ed Harris, Robert B. Parker, Robert Knott
    Directed by Ed Harris
    Starring Ed Harris as VIRGIL COLE
    and Viggo Mortensen as EVERETT HITCH
    Also starring Renée Zellweger, Robert Jauregui, Jeremy Irons


Parker's official web site.

Cameron Hughes' must-read intorduction to The Rap Sheet tribute. Reprinted, with permission.

Tom Nolan's tribute from The Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2010.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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