‘The Bridge’ is the seventh book in the Hitch-Cole series originated by the legend Robert B. Parker and the third one written by Robert Knott. After a better than decent showing with ‘Bull River’, it was unfortunate to see Knott slip back to the mediocrity that made ‘Ironhorse’ so bad. This story simply does not have any bite, and the spirt of Hitch and Cole is nonexistent. I kept reading and reading and hoping and hoping that it would show up somewhere. Sadly, no.
Even when we find out who did what, it was still kinda just… flat. Plodding would be the word to describe the goings on with this story. I kept hoping there would be one, just one, BAM! moment. But there wasn’t. There were a few semi-exciting parts and a couple semi-funny ones, but as a whole this story wasn’t engaging.
Cole and Hitch are back in Appaloosa and things are relatively quiet. Virgil and Everett have built a house for Virgil and his lady, Allie, and Everett is being Everett. Life in the West, as they know it, is pretty good. But tranquility never lasts and soon Hitch and Cole are pulled back into the mix. This time out they have to find out who damaged a massive 200 foot bridge and why. This could almost be a western-mystery full of suspense and excitement, except for the total lack of suspense and excitement.
The one “good” part of this book happens under gruesome circumstances. What happened to the sheriff and his two deputies was just… wrong. But it stood out because it was one of the few “whoa” parts. This was once an amazing Western series. The first four books (written by Parker) are ones that I still talk about and the ones I still handsell. Not so much now. And I DO want Knott to do well because Hitch and Cole are western literary icons. Not to mention that it’s no easy feat to pick up after a storyteller like Parker.
Still… I would expect a better story than this. I don’t know how many more Hitch and Cole stories we’re going to get, but before they release the next one I hope Knott and company can root out the formula that they seemed to have found with ‘Bull River.’