Robert Knott, who took over writing the late Robert B. Parker’s Western series, has no trouble cooking up larger-than-life characters to populate the books.
The author, whose second outing with Marshal Virgil Cole and Deputy Everett Hitch is Bull River (out Tuesday), merely lifts traits from the colorful men he worked with during his younger years as a roughneck.
“There were self-taught geniuses, outlaws, do-gooders, lazy bums and funny-as-hell hicks, all mixed together,” Knott says in press materials. Who knew that oil rigging could serve as literary research?
Knott entered the world of Virgil Cole when he co-wrote the script for the 2008 movie Appaloosa, based on Parker’s 2005 bestseller. Parker wrote three more Westerns before his death in 2010. Then Knott stepped in with Ironhorse in early 2013.
Bull River finds Cole and Hitch investigating the robbery of the Comstock Bank and pursuing two devious brothers and the daughter of a St. Louis millionaire. The theme of the book: “Feelings get you killed,” which is a line from Appaloosa.
“Feelings are at the center of nearly every conflict,” Knott says. “I wanted to show how those kinds of strong feelings could motivate the main antagonist in the story.”
Knott is coming to North Texas later this month to address members of the Dallas Screenwriters Association. He’ll be at The Company of Actors (aka The Acting Studio), 13331 Preston Road in Dallas, at 7 p.m. Jan. 24. Cost for non-members to attend is $10 at the door.
— David Martindale