Robert B. Parker's Bull River, by Robert Knott (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 342 pages, in stores)
When novelist Robert B. Parker died in 2010, it didn't mean his characters died with him. Spenser, perhaps his best-known character, has appeared in books written by Ace Atkins and Helen Brann. The character Jesse Stone has returned in novels written by Michael Brandman.
And Robert Knott has written two novels featuring Old West lawmen Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch (who were portrayed in the movie “Appaloosa” by Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen, respectively). “Robert B. Parker's Ironhorse,” published last January, and the newly released “Robert B. Parker's Bull River” continue their adventures beyond Parker's four best-selling tales.
Knott co-wrote the screenplay for the movie with Harris, so he does have prior experience with the characters before turning to novel writing.
“Ironhorse” involves a trip by railroad north from Texas into Indian Territory on a train carrying the Texas governor and his family. A robbery occurs, the governor's daughters are abducted, and the chase is on. It is a tale worthy of including in Parker's series.
So, too, is “Bull River.”
Cole and Hitch capture escaped murder suspect Alejandro Vasquez and return him to the Texas community of San Cristobal to be arraigned in the shooting deaths of two men. While in town, the lawmen discover the Comstock Bank has been robbed.
The president of the bank, Henry Strode, is the man accused of taking about $200,000 from the vault. Remember, these were the days when deposits were not insured by FDIC, and a loss of that magnitude was truly a loss for depositors.