How do you replace a legend?
How do you replace a legend who created not one, not two, not three, but five incredibly memorable lead characters, each one distinctly cut from a unique cloth?
The legend in question is author Robert B. Parker and those characters are Spencer, Jesse Stone, Sunny Randall, and Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. Like many estates/publishers looking to continue a literary franchise The Parker Family has hand selected authors to pick up the mantle of these memorable characters.
The latest to take up the task is Robert Knott who is charged with carrying on the western series featuring Cole and Hitch, the itinerant lawmen who work the mean streets of Appaloosa. Knott was selected based upon his ties to TV adaptation of Parker’s first book in this series Appaloosa, for which Knott helped to co-write the screenplay with the film’s star, Ed Harris.
It is that familiarity with not only the characters, but also with the easy-going, Parker style that help Ironhorse to work. One of the things that make Cole and Hitch so good is their comfortable, well-worn banter that fits just like a perfectly broken in saddle. Knott does a nice job shoehorning together the duos, completing the other guys thought chatter.
After depositing prisoners south of the border in Mexico, the pair board the St. Louis/San Francisco train to head back to Appaloosa. What should have been an easy trip home turns in a very different direction. Add to the mix the Governor of Texas along with his wife and daughters, $500,000 in cash and train car full of familiar bad guys including Bloody Bob Brandice and Cole and Hitch are off on a wild ride.
Knott does well to not only carrying on the characters but weaves in era correct historical artifacts throughout Ironhorse. While some purist Parker fans might quibble, overall I would bet most will be happy that Cole and Hitch will continue and not ride off into the sunset.