Winter Raven
by Cassie Edwards, historical (2000)
Signet, $6.99, ISBN 0-451-20191-4

No more, I swear, I will probably avoid this author's future books like a plague in the future. I've really learned my lesson. Ma, forgive me, I am a stupid sadist, I swear I will make penance by going on a Suzanne Brockmann marathon at once. Don't think at my age it is dignified, much less healthy, to start foaming at the mouth.

There's a scene in that Ethan Hawke modern revisionist film Hamlet where the marvelous Julia Stiles' Ophelia, driven to madness by the death of her father, stands at the top level of a corporate building and gives a banshee shriek at the top of her lungs.

Trust me, I thought of climbing to the roof of my apartment block and doing the same after this utterly vile, repugnant piece of - uhm, papers bound together. I swear, I will also go to confession for contribution to the meaningless chopping of trees to make this piece of - something even a rag-a-bone man wouldn't touch.

The plot has Holly Wintizer becoming a bounty hunter to find the man who murdered her momma and has her, Holly, thrown out of her house. To do so, she must capture an Indian outlaw named Jake Two Moons (call me a pervert, but, uhm, Two Moons?!). Meanwhile, our Indian hero Winter Raven, Jake Two Moons' twin brother, is charged by his father to bring his misguided twin back to the True Path (our Two Moons has fallen into the bad White crowd, you see, and start robbing banks and all).

I can take Holly's dumb bunny act. After the author's constant reiterations that our Cowboy Barbie can shoot as well as any man, she has Holly going Eeeee and getting overpowered by Winter Raven the moment they meet. Hmm, maybe this is an excuse to have Winter Raven pawing her luscious snowy breasts with a good conscience without offending zealots who would then accuse Ms Edwards of depicting Indians as rapist savages, I guess. By the way, the pawing does happen.

And any woman who hears footsteps nearby, and then wonders aloud, "Is it Jake Two Moons?" deserves to be shot and left for death in some gutter. Call me cruel, but I call it the glory of nature's natural selection, eliminating the dumb bunnies from the gene pool. Alas, nothing like that happens here.

I can take the pathetic attempts at dialogs ("Happy! Happy! Now that we are together! Heehee! Sad! Sad! Sad now that we are apart!") but what makes me explode is when the author decides to add in her clumsy, bumbling attempts at political statements. With her eloquent prose, Ms Edwards should stick to me-Tonto-you-Barbie stories, if you ask me. At least the camp could be pretty amusing.

But no.

Still, how could Winter Raven ever want to see his brother captured by whites and put in a white man's prison? No red man should suffer in such a place, where whites could be free to torment him.

Do bear in mind that Jake Two Moons is a wanted outlaw who has probably killed and who knows, maybe raped.

And the above excerpt is the mildest of the author's clumsy and really godawful attempts to elevate Jake into some misguided martyr against White Evil. And yes, Jake finally sees the light after some Hack Shaman Therapy, and everyone is happy in some Care Bear Red County where only the outsiders allowed are Barbie White groupies (White chicks that dig Red dudes are soooooo cool, yes?).

I wonder, if Jake Two Moons is depicted as a white man, and if I reverse the position of red and white in paragraphs like the above excerpt, whether people would call me a racist pig. As it is, I feel insulted six thousand ways to Sunday by the author in this disgusting piece of badly-written, thoughtless, and amateur political statement. A man is pardoned of his crimes because of his race? Nice.

Let me pick up this book with my thumb and second finger - minimum contact please - and toss this offensive waste of paper into my UBS bag. Normally I would prefer the recycling bin, since I hate to inflict my fellow readers with this book, but call me cheap: I want some of my squandered $6.99 back.

Phew. I need a long bubble bath.

Rating: A big fat zero

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