Fans of Stephanie Plum will love Lois Greiman’s Christina McMullin, the sleuth heroine of Unplugged. Christina is bright and sassy, with an internal monologue that kept me in stitches. As this light-hearted mystery opens, Chrissy is battling a defective septic tank and an attraction to Lt. Jack Rivera, who accused her of murder in the first book in this series, Unzipped.
Chrissy is the type of heroine that I always love: clever, witty, and sassy with a take-no-prisoners approach to life. Oh, and she’s often horny! The mystery here involves Chrissy’s sexy secretary Elaine’s worries about her new beau, J.D. Solberg. After J.D. attends a Geek Convention in Las Vegas, he fails to return home. Chrissy is not enthused about hunting for him, as she thinks he’s a complete jerk and cannot understand what Elaine sees in him. But because Elaine is her lifetime best friend, she agrees to see if she can find him. After Chrissy agrees to search for J.D., the book becomes a non-stop romp through L.A., with Rivera simultaneously trying to keep her out of his investigation and get into her pants. It seems that the couple had an interrupted tryst on the floor of Chrissy’s vestibule after Rivera got a call from his ex-wife about his sick dog (and ran off leaving Chrissy frustrated and furious). Since he didn’t call after that, Chrissy is not very enthused when her search brings her to Rivera’s attention again.
As Chrissy investigates, she meets a gorgeous geek (Ross Bennet), who works with J.D. He agrees to help in her investigation – if she will go out with him. Ross is very attracted to Chrissy, but she begins to suspect that he may have more involvement in the man’s disappearance when she finds out that half a million dollars is also missing from J.D.’s firm. Her efforts to check out Bennet are funny and have unexpected consequences. Chrissy also meets J.D.’s neighbor, who appears to garden at odd hours of the night as she digs two six foot holes in her yard. Chrissy wonders if one of those holes is to bury the missing man, or perhaps the neighbor’s missing husband?
The book’s mystery is fun and has enough action to keep things from lagging. But it is Chrissy’s internal monologues and opinions on those she meets that are the true joy here. Chrissy is just a delight, whether she is fantasizing about Rivera’s tight rear end or trading double entendres with him.
Lt. Jack Rivera is a terrific hero for an on-going mystery series – tall, dark and handsome with an often sarcastic wit and intelligence that make him a great match for Chrissy. He is also really hot! The couple’s dialogue as Chrissy tries to keep Jack at arm’s length is often hilarious and the sexual tension between them nearly sets the page on fire.
While not strictly a ‘cozy’, Greiman’s latest has many of the characteristics that make ‘cozies’ my favorite type of mystery: no graphic violence, likable hero and heroine, and more development of characters than usually seen in a thriller or straight mystery. I also enjoyed the very amusing quotes from Chrissy’s dysfunctional family that begin each chapter. In fact, I enjoyed Unplugged so much that I immediately rescued Unzipped off the top of my rather large TBR pile and read it too. I highly recommend that readers read these two in the correct order to fully understand Chrissy and Rivera‘s relationship – although reading them backwards didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the second book. I look forward to reading more in what I hope will be a long and successful series for Greiman.