Iron Horse Rider
by Adelle Laudan, contemporary (2007)
Wild Child Publishing, $5.95, ISBN 1-934069-51-5


In Adelle Laudan's Iron Horse Rider, our biker hero Shane loses his wife in a road accident, goes on a pilgrimage where he bathes in waterfalls, becomes one with the wilderness, and ends up with the Micmic tribe where he and Chief Gray Owl go all "Me, big strong man. Me, sad. Like a Hemingway book. Ooh!" on me. This tribe is something straight out of a Pocahontas fantasy, complete with wise shamans telling cryptic stories full of Messages and sweet child-like innocent young girls like Tia, Chief Gray Owl's daughter, whom Shane falls in love with just a few weeks at most after Kelly, the woman he professes that he can't live without, has been buried. Or maybe Kelly's been pushing up daisies a little bit longer than a few weeks, I don't know, since chronology is pretty vague in this story.

Tia is going to marry Raven, unfortunately, but Raven turns out to be a bad, bad fellow while Shane is determined to save her from the upcoming arranged marriage while trying to deny his feelings for her. I suppose it is supposed to make me love this story more when Kelly turns out to be less than perfect.

Iron Horse Rider has an underdeveloped romance, but I believe the story emphasizes more on Shane's coming to terms with himself and the secrets that will be revealed in this story rather than his love story with Tia. Unfortunately, Ms Laudan liberally adds in all the clichés one can think of into her story, from the mysterious Obi-Wan Kenobi mystic rider figure to the whole "Native Americans are so wise, kum-ba-yah hey-hey-yeah!" thing about the Micmic tribe. Shane tries very hard to be some anguished "me... big strong man... SAD!" fellow but dude, he's just some bloke who falls in love with a new woman so quickly after his previous wife croaked. It also doesn't help that the Native American characters behave more like cardboard stereotypes than real people.

Iron Horse Rider is not exactly something I would consider even halfway interesting.

Rating: 52


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