ON THE COUCH by Alisa Kwitney

ON THE COUCH

KIRKUS REVIEW

Rich-kid psychotherapist and tough New York cop flirt it up, each playing a role for the unwitting other.

Less concerned with embarrassing pratfalls for her neurotic heroines than many of her chick-lit sisters, Kwitney (Till the Fat Lady Sings, 1992, etc.) still wants them to find love, and not a little bit of sex. The single girl here is Marlowe, a Manhattan psychologist with divorced parents providing her with distant affection and a trust fund. Joe is the NYPD detective with more crime smarts than tact. He calls Marlowe by accident during his investigation of a murder (first of several) in which the victim was snuffed out apparently after calling an escort service; thinking that Marlowe is actually an escort, he tries to get information out of her. Bored with her life and thinking she’ll sex up Joe’s as-yet-unpublished dissertation on role-playing by providing him with some good firsthand experience, Marlowe plays along, quickly warming up to the role of the hooker who’s about to retire but wouldn’t mind one last assignment. Fortunately, one of her therapy clients is exactly that kind of escort, providing her with plenty of real know-how. Joe comes off as a pretty typical Manhattan male, attractive enough to get most any woman he wants. He knows how to get Marlowe into bed and keep her happily there, but he has a sharp temper and an emotional core buried deeper than even a psychologist would want to dig. The relationship is fitful, playful and exciting, then cold and hostile, swinging wildly about as each tries to figure out what game the other is playing, all the while trying to find the killer to boot. Kwitney deserves credit for not throwing out illogical roadblocks, and there’s a refreshing absence of stock best-friend characters.

Still, the crime subplot is hardly thrilling: sexy romance with a few welcome twists.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-06-053079-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2004




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