Listening to a Western on the tollway

(photo credit: photo by Theodor Horydczak;
repository: Library of Congress)
Robert B. Parker’s Ironhorse by Robert Knott
Recently I was
talking with a dear man who is a serious reader of Westerns. Especially to a lightweight
like me, he’s the real deal. And he recommended this book, so I listened.
And then I listened. To the audiobook. Which
actually required some hardcore listening, because the voice of the narrator (Titus Welliver) is
rather low and subdued (a perfect voice for a Western), which I had to strain a
bit to hear. I had the volume cranked (which created quite the effect when I
flipped back to the radio. Hello, blaring banjo of Mumford & Sons!)    
When the Western
reader described the book, he said it takes place on a train. So I got all
wiggly and excited because I love me the train books. (Just thinking about Murder on the Orient Express and The Edge [Dick Francis]) makes me
Ironhorse is part of a series begun by Parker, and now continued by
Knott (since the world lost Parker back in 2010; that was a sad day for an
awfully lot of mystery and Western readers).
The series features
Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, two Territorial Marshalls back in the day. (Side
note: I believe the name “Virgil” is only found in Westerns. It makes me want
to get a turtle* and name him that.)
So this book has
everything a reader could want: tons of action (I couldn’t believe how much
happened in the first few chapters); strong, stoic good guys; nasty criminal
types for them to outwit and outgun; and a dry-witted narrator (that would be Everett).
And the author has
a nice way of phrasing. This line, uttered by a drunk dentist during a
middle-of-the-night interrogation by the marshalls,
made me laugh out loud: “They were kind of like the two of you, rather
obnoxious and demanding.”
A completely
satisfying story.

nephew-turtle clumping earnestly across the floor

*The turtle wish is
due to my completely surprising level of fondness for my sister’s family’s
turtle. If you don’t already have a nephew-turtle, I can highly recommend it.