by Connie Mason, historical (1999)
Leisure, $5.99, ISBN 0-8439-4532-X

Crap alert! This book is probably the worst romance I have ever read since... since I don't know when really. Let's just keep it non-malicious by me saying that if Desperado Jones ever comes near my daughter, I'd personally buy an AK-17 and pump some lead into that scum myself. If I'm generous I'd then throw his body into the garbage dump. This book is too bad to be entertaining. It's offensive and totally insulting, and the whole story reads like something the authors of crappy adult western novels cook up after a three-week non-stop alcoholic binge.

Let's start with the story. Desperado Jones is everyone's favorite half-breed full of macho-bullsmellystuff gunman who blows into Trouble Creek. Chloe Sommers tries to hire him into protecting her cattle during a cattle drive. But our wonderful hero refuses to work for no woman. Then he realizes that Chloe is his stepsister, the daughter of that evil woman-of-ill-repute that stole his daddy's affections and caused our Desperado to be exiled to some crummy relatives' place. With that, he decides to work for Chloe's archenemy to ruin her instead. How wonderful! Don't you just love a noble hero?

The author has taken a bunch of crappy stereotypes and then grind them even flatter until they make Kermit and Miss Piggy look like the next Shakespeare In Love. Nobody talk normal, everyone prefers crappy and ridiculously overblown yee-haw pardner, let me blow yer hollow rottens brains out! dramatics. To call the plot unoriginal is an understatement - I can see the plot twists (a misnomer, the term plot twists) coming a mile away. Crap.

But even worse are the characterization and relationship between Desperado and Chloe. Desperado is beyond sexist - everything he says offends me to the core. And I'm not easily offended. Everything he says to Chloe is insulting. To think a woman would create a romantic hero like this gnat - what is the author thinking? Even his thought processes are braindead in nature. All he thinks about when he actually thinks are Chloe's tight buttocks, juicy bosoms, and large thighs, and nothing else. It's always the buttocks, thighs, and bosoms that I start to see the heroine as a walking, oversized 36DDD chest, bum, and thighs without any head or other appendages. Guess Desperado's idea of the perfect women is the Ultimate Blowup Doll (batteries not included - he probably won't notice anyway). He seems to have no motivation in life except to screw and shoot. My kind of man. As long as he stays a continent away from me. I'm told repeatedly that he beds numerous women without any discrimination. I guess I'm supposed to find that sexy. If I'm a practising doctor I would, heck, I'd go orgasmic at the thought of the STD treatment fees I can charge this man.

And let's not start with Desperado's willingness to argue and come to blows with 17 year olds.

Then we have Chloe. Beautiful, bouncy Chloe. Now I know where they get the inspiration for all those blonde jokes. Chloe keeps shrieking that no man can touch her while prancing about in skin tight jeans that show off her fat thighs and big buttocks and let's not forget the tight white shirt so that her bouncy mammary glands can go boink boink boink for Desperado to drool at. She is so stupid that she gets all hot when Desperado tells her I just proved you need a man. I knew there is something you like about men (while his eyes lingered on her heaving breasts - I'm quoting the book). When Desperado sniggers and insinuates that if she ain't givin' him any, he'd go look up the soiled doves for some rumpy-pumpy, the dumb woman actually has to feel jealous! Egads, if Chloe's my daughter, there's going to be a long mother-daughter talk. And probably some visit to a family therapist as well.

Of course, she knows she is in love with him because no one gives her orgasms like he does. And he knows he is in love because no one gives him orgasms like she does. Case closed. I give them two years.

The most irritating thing about this book is that, well, I know these characters. Yes I do. They're those weirdos that come on to my TV set, in those talk shows. The loud, blustery, bigoted chauvinist pig that everyone booes at. That's Desperado. The silly, brainless Barbie doll who insists tearfully that she loves the man who treats her like dung, that's Chloe. People we guiltily enjoy watching because let's face it, their dramatics are so unbelievable that they make us feel grateful for our own lives.

Gunslinger is beyond campy, beyond guilty pleasure - it is not even slightly amusing. All it is is a hodgepotch of bad dialogues, lousy characterization, and ridiculously overblown theatrics. I'm sure even 13 year old boys looking for some silly Western wouldn't want to give this book a second look.

Rating: 03

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