... one of the best books published in any genre so far this year ... has a bit of everything. There is sex, violence, thrills and mystery. Actually, there are a lot of mysteries ... As might be evident to longtime readers of the series, this latest entry is a bit more plot-driven than the earlier installments. However, the threads that weave their way through the book are interesting enough that no one should mind a bit. Even at that, Cole and Hitch stand large enough in the goings-on that there is no danger of them disappearing in the mix ... Pick up Buckskin and discover why this is one of the best series in genre fiction.
Knott ups his game with every entry he contributes to the Cole-Hitch series. The dialogue is sharper, the plotting more complex, and Knott is mastering Parker’s spare style. Very entertaining reading for western fans.
Robert Knott is a talented writer, but there’s no doubt that these books won’t appeal to everyone. It’s not a stretch to suggest that only those with the strongest desires to explore the old Wild West will enjoy this book, but the same could be said for the rest of the franchise as well. The problem here is that the first act of the story is pretty slow, even by old west standards, and if you don’t find the squabble between Baptiste and McCormick interesting and engaging (which it’s not very, as both men whine and plead with Cole and Hitch to do something about the other), then there’s very little reason to continue onward into the book’s middle pages, which do heat up ... while longtime readers will likely enjoy another ride through Appaloosa with their two heroes, the slower plot and lack of suspense early on makes this one a bit of an acquired taste.
Robert B. Parker fans, readers of Western novels, and cowboy junkies can expect to be disappointed in this book. Knott, though successful in his other endeavors, does not quite measure up to Robert B. Parker. But in all fairness, who does? ... If there ever was a book for Western readers to love, it should have been this one. The characters are there, sort of, the setting is there, sort of, and the plot is there, somewhere ... Despite Knott's best efforts, the book is draggy, lacks convincing Western ambience, spoken and internal dialogue are inconsistent in tone. In the author's attempt to portray the way cowboys really talk and to emulate the way Parker wrote cowboy lingo, Knott often makes Cole and Hitch and some of the others sound like wannabes, or worse, suggests they have a mental deficiency of some kind ... Overall, Knott's worthy attempt fails in style and form.
Cole and Hitch, who’ve now appeared in more novels written by Knott than by their creator, have little to do but stand around, tote up the rising body count and occasionally augment it, and offer gruffly monosyllabic responses to questions that come their way as the perfect storm gathers to strike their hometown ... Earnest, heavier than usual on old-fashioned detective work, and ritualistic to a fault. If you’re surprised by anything that happens, you need to read more Westerns.