Harlequin, $6.99, ISBN 0-373-83412-8
Romantic Suspense, 1999
Somewhere. 1:44 pm.
Mulder: What are you reading Scully? Let me see. (grabs book out of her hands, while ignoring her annoyed exclamation) The Private Eye. By Jayne Ann Krentz. Sounds fun. Hey, isn’t that the author that is under Case 1554-009-555 in the X-Files?
Scully: Mulder, you asked me to do research. This is part of my research. I have read 15 books by Jayne Ann Krentz under her Amanda Quick pseudonym, and 18 of hers under her real name. I think there are 400 more out there. Now if you’ll excuse me (snatches book back from Mulder), I have an assignment to finish. What are you doing here?
Mulder: I called you 12 times in the last hour. You never answered your handphone, so I figured your batteries may be low. Bought you some. Okay, enough to last the whole year.
Scully: My batteries are fine. I just switched the handphone off. Some idiot kept calling and interrupting my reading. Mulder, I’d really like to be left alone at the moment.
Mulder: What? We’re not going to lunch today?
Scully: Not today.
Mulder: (eyes back blurb of book) What? This Josh January guy really that interesting?
Scully: Uh-huh. He’s rather sexy and darkly handsome. A dependable, reliable, and funny PI who decides to go to this Maggie Gladstone’s grand mansion-turned-inn, supposedly to investigate the mysterious sabotage incidents there, but in actuality, he has been roughed up and injured and is looking forward to a month’s paid holiday at the place. You know, I really laughed when Josh turns up in crutches and with swollen eyes and all at Maggie’s door. The poor woman doesn’t know what to expect. (Looks up) How about you? What have you read?
Mulder: (sheepishly) Scandal. Got some nice ideas about neck ties. Anyway, go on. Sounds like you enjoyed The Private Eye.
Scully: It’s a decent read. Not exactly on par with some of her better books out there. Part of my enjoyment is sort of hampered because of too much sameness.
Mulder: Samey characters?
Scully: Definitely samey. I have having a hard time differentiating the heroes of this author, and the heroines too, come to think of it. The author writes some fun lines and her prose and storytelling is definitely top-notch, but I can’t help wishing, for once, there would be something in her books that will surprise me. Reading her books is like a comfy read, nothing exciting, nothing new, just revisiting the same old – if enjoyable – places and people. It’s getting a bit thin though, the whole formula.
Mulder: So you’d accept my theory that…
Scully: No. Mulder, don’t be ridiculous. This author is not, I repeat, not caught in a time warp. She is not stuck in a Groundhog Day situation where she is forced to relive a single day again and again and hence writes the same book with varying degrees of differences without knowing it. That is a ridiculous notion and only a loony will think of such a thing! In fact, I think this is not an X-File. Just an author writing what her fans love and what she loves too. I recommend throwing the X-File into the recycling bin and returning some of the not-too-good Jayne Ann Krentz books back. I think I’ll send this book back too.
Mulder: Scully, but… not a chance?
Scully: No. Not a chance. Besides, it’s a stupid idea. I go along with you because I need something to read anyway.
Mulder: Then lunch?
Scully: Not today Mulder. Why are you so persistent today?
Mulder: It’s just… well… uh, the author is having a book signing at Borders right outside Joe’s Cafe?
Scully: (closes book) I’ll get my coat.
Mulder: (follows her) Amazing. You know she’s recycling the same plots and characters and you still can’t stop reading. Do you think that maybe…
Scully: No, Mulder. No. (walks offstage)
Mulder: Hey, so you like dark, tortured, obsessed investigators? (looks into a car’s side window, opens his mouth and checks his teeth, before walking after her)