Chase The Lightning
by Madeline Baker, historical/time-travel (2001)
Leisure, $5.99, ISBN 0843949171

This is one of those stories that are filled with ridiculous apologia ("he's a Native American, so he's holy and good and pure!") and rather inane plots, but the whole lurid nonsense make up a pretty enjoyable read nonetheless.

In 1869, Trey Long Dong, oops, Trey Long Walker is mad at the bank who foreclosed his family ranch. The bank is run by racist pigs, he conclude, so he and his buddies decide to rob the bank as payback. Of course, since Trey is an Indian Noble Guy, he warns his men not to shoot.

Makes sense, really - rob a bank without shooting. It's like a heroine wanting to "get wild and adventurous" without acting like a slut or wearing short skirts (in short, she wants to marry her brother's best friend). What is this, a romance novel? Oh, it is. Sorry, please carry on.

Trey is badly wounded - hey, when it comes to a Western romance, the hero has to get wounded so that he will be nursed, naked and virile, by the heroine who will try not to take a peek. It's the Law. He is wounded, but lo, look, out of the dust comes a white horse! Trey gets on the horse, who then carries our hero to modern day.

Amanda Burkett has been standing on the ranch like a Demure Native American Apologist Schoolmarm when the horse rides into her ranch carrying a wounded man. She gives a shriek of disgust, pushes the man down the horse, shoots the horse, and has sauteed horsemeat for dinner. Joking. Of course she will take care of our hero and has her bosoms heaving in synchrony with his heavy breathing. It's the Law, and heroines don't break Laws. They don't have it in them.

Amanda has a discardable boyfriend, who is in trouble. Look, there comes thugs! Trey and Amanda escape by riding on the horse and go back to Trey's time. Hey, I want that horse. I'll always win lotteries from now on if I can get my hands on that horse.

What happens next? Adventures! Evil White men! Kind White women! Every woman's a Native American apologist here. Nothing wrong with that, if unrealistic portrayal of characters isn't a sin. As our hero flexes his muscles to Save His Woman and Defend The Rights Of The Downtrodden Minority, I hear Diana Ross' Muscles playing in my mind. Don't ask. But it's quite apt, come to think of it. "I want muscles! I just want some strong man to hold to!" - me too.

In the end, the Evil White Men lay bloody and battered on the ground, defeated at last. Our heroine clings to the hero's neck and shoulders, triumphant as now they can forge their own utopia.

That's okay. More power to them. On to the next book now.

Rating: 76

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