Last week Graham Powell found himself at a Robert B. Parker signing and did me the great kindness of sending me a signed copy of Resolution, the sequel to his Western Appaloosa.
Former soldier and lawman Everett Hitch stops in a town called Resolution, where hotel and saloon owner Amos Wolfson hires him as a lookout. While Hitch's unflinching dealing with criminals and "softhearted" treatment of the citizenry leave him well liked by the people, he's a bit too free-thinking for Wolfson's taste.
Meanwhile, Virgil Cole visits his friend Hitch. We learn that Cole's woman Allie ran off with another man, and Cole found and killed the man and turned in his badge. So while Hitch helps Wolfson deal with a rival capitalist, Virgil tries to find purpose after a breach of the rules that had always guided him.
Parker explores the same themes in many of his books, but here the frontier setting gives them some imaginative cover. My only complaint is that each chapter ends too neatly, not particularly driving the story anywhere or compelling me to read on. This is the result of Parker writing ten pages a day without a plan. If the author has only a vague notion where the story is going and eschews revision as Parker does, he can't build toward anything very effectively.