Got A Hold On You
by Pat White, contemporary (2003)
LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52549-6

This book is set in the world of professional wrestling. I'd love to read about a woman built like Chynna kicking ass with someone as sexy as Stone Cold Austin (don't look at me like that, please), but Pat White instead chooses to write about heroine Frankie McGee, boring accountant by day, hot bikinied ring babe at night, with all the usual bipolar "me so sexy/me not happy" insecurities typical of too many romance heroines out there. The hero is Black Jack Hudson, who's hoping to win the grand prize one last time before he retires into some rustic area to play the lumberjack guy in the cottage or something. Both of them meet when Frankie decides to help her Uncle Joe out by playing "Tatianna the Tigress" when Uncle Joe is unexpectedly short-staffed at the last moment. I guess they suddenly ran out of salinically-enhanced trashy women in Chicago.

By page 80, I am wondering why I am breathing faster than usual. This story isn't that good. In fact, I'm slowly hyperventilating as I am feeling a headache coming on. Then, on page 127, I have to put the book down when I realize why my nerves seems to be going. This story is a non-stop, almost brutal, definitely incessant rollercoaster ride of whackjob slapstick foolishness. From the early scene where the heroine get into a bitchfight with another woman to the utterly ridiculous denouement towards the end, Got A Hold On You is pure, unadulterated looneybin mayhem. Unfortunately, most of the mayhem going on here isn't as funny as they are painful, especially when the "funny" comes from people behaving stupidly. The greatest honor of being moron, predictably, goes to Frankie.

Frankie is a typical "good girl" that, in the hands of an inexperienced author like Pat White, comes off as just pathetic instead. Both she and Jack are guilt-tripped into their respective places in this story by Uncle Joe over the flimsiest of reasons, so both Frankie and Jack are already starting off on the wrong foot with me. Sometimes one has to just say no to people, especially to not-nice-at-all opportunists like Uncle Joe. But Frankie, oh Frankie, from which stupid manhole did they drag you out from? She keeps babbling about how nobody should hurt each other in wrestling even as she accidentally hurts the hero while trying to do things only to end up doing the complete opposite through sheer moronic ineptness. How this idiot can get out of the bed without tripping and falling out the window is beyond me. Even if someone is not a fan of wrestling, this someone should not be a gullible, gasping nitwit like Frankie.

Jack, who clearly has no cojones, is still a better character than Frankie, because lucky him, a man, he's often coming to Frankie's rescue. It's easier to like a dim-witted savior than a braindrained nitwit. Then again, put Frankie next to a potted cactus and one would find the cactus plant more rivetting company.

Still, this book wouldn't be so bad if the rollercoaster ride down to the Pits of Moron seems to go on and on forever until I feel like a nervous breakdown coming on. Some people can write rollercoaster mayhem like a pro - Colleen Collins' Right Chest, Wrong Name is a perfect example of a classic madcap slapstick romance - but Pat White makes me gasp painfully and claw my way across the floor for the dramamine. Oh well, there's always the next book. Although I'd get a life jacket ready, just in case.

Rating: 51

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