The Fraser Bride

Highland Enchantment

Highland Hawk

Highland Scoundrel

The MacGowan Betrothal

The Princess Masquerade

Seducing a Princess

Unzipped by Lois Greiman
(Dell, $6.99, PG) ISBN 0-440-24262-2
Heroines who are all-too-human with a quirky sense of humor and a less than stellar love life paired with a macho law-enforcement hero who is alternately besotted and bemused with the damsel. Does that sound a bit familiar? Without naming any names, this combination has been done before. Now it’s Lois Greiman’s turn to entertain us with the above lineup of characters.

Having had bad luck with men, psychologist Christina McMullen decides to help them. Alas, her clients aren’t that scintillating. She’s treating a man who is obsessive-compulsive regarding what lunch meat he takes to work. Another client is impotent celebrity football player Andrew “Bomber” Bomstad. During his last session he brings a bottle of wine with him that he wants to share with Christina. That’s not all he wants to share with her. His death, the wine bottle and the exposed evidence makes Christina a prime suspect according to detective Jack Rivera.

Detective Rivera’s suspicions are the engine that drives the plot. Most of Christina’s machinations stem from his suspicions. Trying to defend herself leads to some senselessly weird situations and allows the author to introduce us to the cast of secondary screwball characters. Reiterating her innocence to Jack Rivera is obviously not working; her failure on that front gives Christina an idea of how to exonerate herself. The Bomb kept a diary which should proclaim her innocence, right? With that in mind, Christina will break into the dead man’s house and find the diary. Oh, yes, she’s accused of murder and committing B&E will proclaim her innocence? I don’t think so.

A running gag throughout the book is how Christina mangles the name Rivera. Kudos to the author for some clever twists on his name. It never seemed to faze Jack whether he is called Rivers, Reevers, Rovers, Reeper. . . well, you get the idea. I also enjoyed the oddball quotes that begins each chapter. Quotes attributed to relatives, friends and weirdos.

Chapter 16 begins with a winner.

”Just remember this, Missy, escargot ain’t nothin’ but snails with their noses stuck in the air.” - Connie McMullin, upon learning of her daughter’s desire for higher education.

Yes, there were many moments that caused me to grin as I read Christina’s antics. But there weren't enough laugh out loud moments since the humorous moments were drowned by my irritation at Christina's numbskull attempts to convince Jack of her innocence. At times I even sympathized with Jack Rivera. The sexual tension is there in quite a few steamy moments but never seemed convincing. Too many times the moment ended prematurely - if you catch my drift.

Unzipped is billed as a romance and suspense story. Sadly, it doesn't quite succeed at either.

--Linda Mowery

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