Savage Fires
by Cassie Edwards, historical (1999)
Leisure, $5.99, ISBN 0-8439-4551-6

I have to admire Ms Edwards. Universally panned and critically reviled, she still manages to churn out two new books and many, many re-releases a year to public demand. There's no sign of stopping her, and while some may say this is the sign of the apocalypse, I say come on - give this author a break.

After all, we all need a good laugh sometimes, and Savage Fires, which is on sale at the local bookstore at a bargain price of a dollar each, is as good as any goofball comedy around. Too bad much of the goofball's unintentionally hilarious.

Oh, and one more thing: don't do what I did and read this while enjoying a to-die-for extra-rich slice of chocolate suicide. Spraying cake bits all over the table and on the next table in a failed attempt to stifle giggles isn't exactly dignified. And chocolate suicides cost $5 a slice.

Indian chief Wolf (I think he's Ottawa Indian, not that it mattered) needs a lawyer to defend his tribesmen who are unfairly accused of illegal fishing on private property. Jo Stanton may be in a wheelchair, but she has a 100% perfect record in winning her cases. Wolf is disdainful of her infirmity and her gender, but lo, our Wonder Woman soon convinces him otherwise. And hey, she pleasures him good too. They marry, Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam cause problem, Wolf and Jo overcome all, and they live happily ever after in Tonto country.

I always think those didactic, preachy, badly acted and directed soap operas on daytime TV is bad. I take that back. Savage Fires is worse. It has a cartoony nature to it that it defies all logic and common sense. Let's see. Our heroine miraculously regains the use of her legs to save her father from a fire, and the Bad Father soon becomes a changed man. "I am saved! I saw the light! I am no longer evil!" Or how about the wolves and eagles that actually tell Wolf that Jo is in danger? Lassie would be so ashamed. Even better, Jo redeems Wolf's father into the Side Of Good using a wheelchair.

And for cardboards, Wolf and Jo demonstrate their surprising acrobatic agility in boinking under the beautiful splendorous sky. Under the azure stars, they exchange love vows in metaphors and imageries that would put any aspiring sophomoric poet to shame. "I am the dew on your grass blades!" Jo proclaims (or something in that effect) as they move in heavenly delights.

And in the big final court case, Jo saves the day with her brilliant, emotional, melodramatic rhetorics. The whole clan of Indians are overjoyed with relief. "We give you thanks - we are free to fish again!" they say tearfully.

I had a great laugh at the cheesy, condescending, stereotypical, and ridiculous that is Savage Fires. It has a plot so simplistic it could be written by a five year old, characters so wooden that they make Tarzan a brilliant demagogue in comparison, and best of all, the whole book gave me the best laugh I've had in days. For that, I'm almost tempted to give this book a high grade.

Then I realized as I watched The Muppets Show that evening how much more convincing Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog are at their grand romance. Eek.

Rating: 17

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