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Gunman's Rhapsody by Robert B. Parker (Putnam, $22.95). Parker, creator of fictional Boston private eye Spenser, focuses on a real-life lawman, Wyatt Earp. It's 1879, and Dodge City, Kan., has lost its appeal for Earp, the 31-year-old assistant city marshal. So he heads for the silver mines of Tombstone, Ariz., taking his two brothers and their women. There, Earp becomes deputy sheriff and meets, among others, Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson and Josie Marcus, a showgirl who would become the love of his life.

The Master Executioner by Loren D. Estleman (Forge, $23.95). No noose is bad noose to Oscar Stone, hangman in 1890s Idaho. Stone is a historian of his art, a student of his craft, a scientist in the behavior of ropes and the anatomy of the human neck. In his 25 years on the job, he has earned a reputation as the best. Stone's life takes a dramatic turn when he learns something that makes him look at himself in a new way.

The Devil's Shadow by Hugh Holton (Forge, $25.95). A Chicago police detective trails an internationally famous thief to her Caribbean estate.

Whatever Doesn't Kill You by Gillian Roberts (St. Martin's, $23.95). A woman's murder and another woman's search for her biological mother are somehow connected.

Louisiana Hotshot by Julie Smith (Forge, $24.95). In New Orleans, a fledgling detective looks for a man who seduces teen-age black girls.

-- Associated Press

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