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Gunman's Rhapsody    by Robert B. Parker order for
Gunman's Rhapsody
by Robert B. Parker
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2001 (2001)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Robert Parker has one role model for his protagonists, whether he embodies them as Spenser, Jesse Stone, Sunny Randall, or in this latest, as Wyatt Earp. His heroes (and heroine) live by a code that defines their actions and way of life. Gunman's Rhapsody tells a story of Wyatt and his brothers in Tombstone. Wyatt meets the love of his life, an independent, adventurous woman named Josie Marcus. They woo each other and move in together. This results in reams of trouble for Wyatt and his brothers, since Josie's ex-lover, the politically oriented lawman Johnny Behan is not thrilled by the turn of events and manipulates local cowboys into attacking his enemy for him.

The author seemed to be toying with Westerns in his latest Spenser mystery, Potshot, which told a modern tale of a Magnificent Seven. Gunman's Rhapsody moves right into the genre, and precedes each chapter with seemingly irrelevant snippets of historical context. The story is predictable for Spenser fans, but it's always fun following this character in whichever incarnation he (or she) appears and Parker is a skilled teller of tales. Dip into this one for a new perspective on legends of the old West - such as the Earp brothers themselves, Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson - and the infamous shootout at the O.K. Corral. What will Parker serve his readers next? The Alamo?

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