Robert B. Parker
Putnam, May 2001, 22.95, 304 pp.
In 1879 thirty-one years old Wyatt Earp, his spouse Mattie, several of his brothers, and their wives leave Dodge City to relocate in Tombstone. Three days pass in their new town when Wyatt sees traveling actress Josie Marcus for the first time. He cannot help but compare the vibrant, beautiful woman to his own wife. He realizes that Mattie, who was fun as an alcoholic whore, is a pathetic domestic. Wyatt did not desire Mattie long before his eyes feasted on Josie.
Josie is not only beyond Wyatt's reach, he sees her with Johnny Behan. Worse to come is when Behan introduces Josie to Wyatt as his fiancee. Johnny tells Wyatt that Pina County will probably split in two. He wants to become sheriff of the newly formed Cochise County when it is formed. He needs Wyatt to resign his current position as under sheriff so that he can accept it as a stepping stone when the split happens. Regardless of Wyatt's decision the woman and the job forces a dangerous feud to form.
Mixing history with his legendary story telling abilities, Robert B. Parker effortlessly switches genres to provide readers with a powerful tale of the old west. The exciting story line centers on Wyatt, turning him into more than just a dime store character. The plot allows the cast to appear real and the rivalry to develop without slowing down the plot for even a moment. GUNMAN'S RHAPSODY shows that Mr. Parker has the talent to become a superstar in a second genre.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner