Gunman's Rhapsody
Gunman's Rhapsody
Gunman's Rhapsody
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Price: $13.90 FREE for Members
Type: eBook
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Page Count: 320
Format: fb2
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399147624
ISBN-13: 9780399147623
User Rating: 3.3333 out of 5 Stars! (3 Votes)

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| 5 out of 5 Stars!

Gunman's Rhapsody, I was pleased to find, is up to Parker's usual page-turning standards.

It's a fictional retelling of the Wyatt Earp saga "with the full weight of American history behind it," according to the publisher. If that be so, then Kevin Costner's recent film portrayal of Earp is closer to history than the earlier versions told story of the feud between Sheriff Johnny Behan and Wyatt over showgirl Josie Marcus, which led to the famous shootout at the O.K. Corral.

Josie was the love of Wyatt's life, but in hindsight one almost wonders if all the blood spilled over that romance was worth it. If for none other, it's almost reason enough just for the joy of reading Parker's retelling of this cornerstone saga of the wild and wooly old American West.

| 2 out of 5 Stars!

In 1879 thirty-one-year-old Wyatt Earp, his spouse Mattie, several of his brothers, and their wives leave Dodge City to relocate in Tombstone. Three days pass in their new town when Wyatt sees traveling actress Josie Marcus for the first time. He cannot help but compare the vibrant, beautiful woman to his own wife. He realizes that Mattie, who was fun as an alcoholic whore, is a pathetic domestic. Wyatt did not desire Mattie long before his eyes feasted on Josie.

Josie is not only beyond Wyatt's reach, he sees her with Johnny Behan. Worse to come is when Behan introduces Josie to Wyatt as his fiancee. Johnny tells Wyatt that Pina County will probably split in two. He wants to become sheriff of the newly formed Cochise County when it is formed. He needs Wyatt to resign his current position as under sheriff so that he can accept it as a stepping stone when the split happens. Regardless of Wyatt's decision the woman and the job forces a dangerous feud to form.

Mixing history with his legendary story telling abilities, Robert B. Parker effortlessly switches genres to provide readers with a powerful tale of the old west. The exciting story line centers on Wyatt, turning him into more than just a dime store character. The plot allows the cast to appear real and the rivalry to develop without slowing down the plot for even a moment. GUNMAN'S RHAPSODY shows that Mr. Parker has the talent to become a superstar in a second genre.

Harriet Klausner

| 3 out of 5 Stars!

This is an appealing novel for those who would normally not read westerns.

Robert Parker has taken the well-known shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona and turned it into a well-developed, rich tale of family, honor, love, career, and the taming of the West. While many other writers have treated this material before, none have provided so much background to put the event into its proper perspective. The Earps, Doc Holliday, the Clantons, Bat Masterson, and many other Western legends come to life as real people you would recognize if you met them in a saloon. You will also learn a lot about the Earp women, both the wives and those they love. The story continues on to tell about what happened after the shoot-out.

Mr. Parker writes about these characters as though he were a contemporary, but without the exaggeration of a dime novel. In fact, the spare prose of the Spenser series here becomes stronger without the quips and irony that pervade those stories. The writing style will remind you of Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, and that's intended to be a high compliment for his accomplishment here. The story also evokes many of the good qualities of The Virginian.

The story pivots around Wyatt Earp's fascination with a performer who draws his eye, Josie Marcus. Never expecting to see her again, he is startled to find her on the arm of aspiring lawman, Johnny Behan. Josie is a modern woman in many ways, drawn to the stage and Johnny for the excitement they seem to offer. She ends up being disappointed in both. For her, though, Wyatt is the real thing.

Their relationship is complicated South lines, reflecting the Civil War. Also, the cowboys tended to be southerners, and the Earps were northerners and townspeople.

The character of Wyatt Earp, as portrayed shooting practice. Both a discomfort with alcohol and a preference for being in control have him constantly sipping cups of coffee to keep his vigilance sharp. He is above all a man of honor, which means sticking to his word and to his family. Many of the plot complications are a result of that honor, and you will enjoy thinking about the price that has to be paid.

Mr. Parker also does a remarkably good job of capturing the peril of being a law officer. You not only have to disarm the bad guys, some of them will come after you. If another law officer or citizen falsely accuses you, you can then have a posse chasing you. The Earps had plenty of experience with all of these problems.

My only complaint about the book relate to the Chronicle inserts that outline other events happening at the same time. There is too much of this in the book, and the significance of the events is mainly from the perspective of our time. So the effect of reading them is to take you away from the story in time and space. Unless you happen to enjoy the first ones you read, I suggest you skip over these for a more enjoyable read.

The moral choices involved in this book are interesting. How would you have decided between Mattie and Josie if you were Wyatt? If you chose Josie, how would you have handled the break-up? What promise would you have made to Josie about Johnny? If you were Josie, would you have released Wyatt from his promise?

Be a straight-shooter!

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