Gunman's Rhapsody

Gunman's Rhapsody

by Robert B. Parker

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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Spenser creator Robert B. Parker turns his eye to the Old West with his stirring rendition of the legendary exploits of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, the Clanton Gang, and the fateful gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425182895
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/05/2002
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 204,972
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Robert B. Parker was the author of more than fifty books. He died in January 2010.

Date of Birth:

September 17, 1932

Date of Death:

January 18, 2010

Place of Birth:

Springfield, Massachusetts

Place of Death:

Cambridge, Massachusetts


B.A. in English, Colby College, 1954; M.A., Ph. D. in English, Boston University, 1957, 1971

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Fast and steady." —Entertainment Weekly

"His best yet...A remarkably artful Western, as tough and as true as the slap of gunmetal against leather." —Publishers Weekly

Customer Reviews

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Gunman's Rhapsody 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
mollybea More than 1 year ago
there is no better writer of Western novels than Robert Parker. His dialog and descriptions of characters and places is wonderful and authentic. Historically, I learned more about the Earp Family and their relationships that I had never known before. Also learned about other characters like Ike Clanton. Obviously Parker did a great amount of research for this book. This is a great book for lovers of the old west. I recommend Parker's other westerns: Appallosa, and Resolution
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some have said that this book is a take off of the Tombstone & Wyatt Earp movie scripts. I beg to differ. Parker tells a story which has been told numerous time but uses his uncanny wit and character banter to make it his own. Though it is not an original, Parker makes this book his own. Parker is an incredible writer who writes books that are easy and enjoyable to read.
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TrooperGar More than 1 year ago
A slightly more laid back version of the Earp brothers story, with the focus on Wyatt. The action and actions in this book feel more realistic than I see in most books. Maybe it is just Parker's way of writing, but I found it engaging. I will be checking out more of his writings now.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this to be an interesting book but it lacked something. I found it very genuine but sometimes hard to follow. I liked it enough to finish in two days. This book did make me curious about the history of some of the western gun-men of that time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After years of entertaining novels about contemporary crime, criminals and detectives, Robert B. Parker has taken his skills in a different direction. Taking the raw facts about Wyatt Earp, his family & associates, and historical events, he uses his literary gifts to flesh out these figures and create a plausible love story and action adventure. Call it a thinking man's western. Much like his Spenser novels, there is sufficient action, romance, and dry wit, without departing from historical facts. Parker's treatment of famous characters as folks not too different from the rest of us helps in understanding - and appreciating - their challenges and motivations. If you liked McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, you should give this a look.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While it was a good story and well written, I was somewhat disappointed in it's lack of originality. I felt as if I was reading the script from a Wyatt Earp movie. I would have expected Mr. Parker to have his own, 'original' character and not one about a subject (Wyatt Earp) that every other western writer has writen about. Throughout the entire book I couldn't shake the feeling that 'I've read this story before', but of course I hadn't.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Parker is able to take you into the old west. I normally don't read about that era but his book is fascinating. A deeper look at the well-known and widely mythologized Wyatt Earp.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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 Wetern 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 by Josie having let Johnny move into a house her father has bought her in Tombstone, and Wyatt having lived with Mattie (Celia Ann Blaylock) for a number of years. The hurt feelings lead to a polarization in the politics in Tombstone and in Wyatt's relationship with his brother Virgil's wife, Allie. The economic interests in the Tombstone area arrayed the ranchers against the rustlers, and the townsmen against those who wanted to raise a ruckus in town. The political interests split along North-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 by Mr. Parker, will fascinate you. He is seen as a man of effortless, relaxed precision. He enjoys his card dealing as much as his target-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! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irre