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On The Couch [Paperback]

Alisa Kwitney
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 3 2004

After going for more than a year without a date -- a record in New York City -- Marlowe Riddle has finally met a broodingly sexy, sharply intelligent man who is clearly interested in making more than polite conversation. The only problem: Joseph Kain is an NYPD detective clearly under the mistaken impression that Marlowe is a call girl.

But while Marlowe does take money for spending time with strangers in her expensive Upper West Side apartment, she's a psychologist -- not Manhattan's answer to the Mayflower Madam! A fact she has no intention of telling Joe ... at least not until she finishes her research project on the "Behavioral Effects of Disguising Identity."

But Marlowe's not the only one trying to secretively gain information ... and it's becoming increasingly unclear who is seducing whom. Because sometimes the only way to learn what a man really wants ... is to get him on the couch.


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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 Bored with her life and thinking she'll sex up Joe's as-yet-unpublished dissertation on role-playing by providing him with some good firsthand experience, Marlowe plays along, quickly warming up to the role of the hooker who's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. (Kirkus Reviews)

About the Author

Alisa Kwitney is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Does She or Doesn't She?, The Dominant Blonde, and Till the Fat Lady Sings. Alisa has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and countless comic books from her years as an editor for Vertigo/DC Comics. She lives with her husband and two children in New York City.


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I woke up and discovered that the phone was ringing. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Character Driven... June 21 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
First off, I have to mention how much I enjoy Alisa Kwitney's books. AK writes with the emotion and passion that keeps my interest throughout her stories. Now, with that said, the following is my review of her latest endeavor:
New York City cop Joe Kain is a lonely recently divorced Jewish man with a mother that is riding his back to find a nice Jewish girl to marry. Unfortunately for Joe's mother, Joe is a bit gun-shy due to the fact that his ex-wife threw him a curve ball when she left him to ostensibly pursue her budding career. Joe has basically lost his joie de vivre for life...until he meets Dr. Marlowe Riddle.
Marlowe, much like Joe, is at loose ends with her life as well. She is a moderately successful psychologist without much drive as she is also a trust fund baby. It isn't until she meets Joe that she comes to realize what she really craves from life and herself.
What I most like about the novel is the characters. Marlowe and Joe are real. They are not cut-out Ken and Barbie fairy tale characters. The dialogue is always fresh and witty without being smarmy or overly sappy. There is real passion and chemistry between the protagonists and AK has a way of developing her characters in a mature yet emotional manner that keeps the reader emotionally as well and intellectually involved in the story.
Moreover, I have to emphasize the sizzling passion. Sex thrown into a book just for the "taboo factor" is boring and irritating to say the least, but AK knows how to incorporate sex/passion so that it enhances the story and gives it just the right amount of "oomph".
I truly hope that it does not take AK too long to publish her next book, because I find it increasingly difficult to find books that can keep my interest after the first few chapters.
Thanks for reading this review.
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2.0 out of 5 stars some cute stuff, but... June 17 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
trying too hard to sound cool... when i was reading the first chapter in the store, it reminded me a lot of jennifer crusie's books, which also try to hard to sound cool, which is why i gave up on them after book 3. (funnily enough i see that crusie has a comment posted on the cover of this book! how utterly perfect!)
Maybe i've just read too much of books like this, i don't know, but the intended zingers and one-liners have just gotten so predictable. for instance, right away we find out the guy in this book is a cop. he calls up the girl ("marlowe" right that name sounds legit - fake! fake! fake!) and he says he wants to come over. a booty call is definitely implied here, and i'm reading thinking, ok when's some comment about his handcuffs going to make its way into the conversation? you just know it has to, right? and like clockwork, the chapter ends with the intended "cool" zinger: "Oh, and Joe? Bring the handcuffs." I rolled my eyes and thought, here we go... I didn't want to be too hasty though, it was only chap one after all, so i made the mistake of reading on, only to find Alissa Kwitney's characters continue their shallow banter and unrealistic interactions. Marlowe was the worst though. Here we have this supposedly sarcastic, savvy manhattanite type calling Joe inane, childish things like "lizard" and "reptile brain" in anger. Huh? i just was not buying it - ANY of it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Light reading, but good fun July 15 2004
Format:Paperback
As "chick lit" books go, this is decent fare. The storyline is certainly different than any other books in this particular genre (if you can call it that): psychologist is mistaken for call girl, and plays the part because she's interested in the cop who made the mistake. Oh, she's also supposed to be doing it for the book she's writing, but that's a pretty weak part of the book.
The side storylines are a little distracting, because the interaction between Joe and Marlowe is the best part of the book. For example, I didn't care at all about the client of Marlowe's who's killed - it was just filler. However, I think the main characters are enough to keep you interested.
I was reading this on the train, and while I didn't miss my stop because of it, I did hope that I'd have a few minutes before getting picked up to finish it off. Worth your time if you like this type of book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars On the Couch July 1 2004
Format:Paperback
I'll suffer at work today for having stayed up all night reading On the Couch--I couldn't put it down. As in her other books, Alisa Kwitney serves up surprising plot twists and a heroine I can relate to--and a sexy hero who makes me root for speedy consummation! Spicy and witty, this book it tons of fun--but beneath the breezy style, it has plenty to say about intimacy and human vulnerability. It's far deeper than the day-glo cover makes it seem. Kudos to Kwitney for reaching into her own heart and fantasy life and sharing something from deep within.
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