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Gypped: A Regan Reilly Mystery by [Clark, Carol Higgins]
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Carol Higgins Clark is the author of the bestselling Regan Reilly mysteries. She is coauthor, along with her mother, Mary Higgins Clark, of a bestselling holiday suspense series. Also an actress, Carol Higgins Clark studied at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and has recorded several novels. She received AudioFile’s Earphones Award of Excellence for her reading of Jinxed. She lives in New York City. Her website is CarolHigginsClark.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

In a claustrophobic dressing room littered with straight pins, Regan Reilly was checking her reflection in the mirror. If there was anything she hated, it was shopping for jeans. With all the boot-cut, slim, straight, bell, stonewashed, low-rise, high-rise styles, and ever changing lengths, finding a pair that fit properly was a challenge. Harsh lighting didn’t exactly add to the joy of the occasion.

A deliberate pounding on the door was followed by a cheery, “It’s Turquoise. Any luck yet?”

Regan glanced at the pile of jeans she’d already rejected. “I think so,” she answered, trying to sound upbeat.

“What’s that? You need to speak up.”

Of course I do, Regan realized. “Yes, finally,” she called over the thumping music that filled the air.

“Awesome! Can I take a peek?”

Oy, Regan realized. This is the part of shopping I hate the most. She didn’t have to be psychic to predict the salesgirl’s reaction. Regan pulled open the door.

Turquoise, not her legal name, she’d informed Regan, although Regan might have guessed, had streaks of turquoise running through her wildly layered black hair. One small section looked as if she’d been to the barber for a close shave. Another section was cascading down to her waist. The black leather halter and low-rise jeans Turquoise was sporting brought to mind the expression, “And never the twain shall meet.” She quickly sized up Regan’s jeans. “They’re fab! Oh, I wish I were tall like you.”

“5'7" isn’t that tall,” Regan said with a smile.

“It is to me! If I didn’t wear these platform shoes,” Turquoise said, pointing to her indescribable footwear, “I’d disappear into the crowd.”

“Not a chance,” Regan answered.

Turquoise laughed and swayed back and forth to the thumping music. “I have one more pair that you have to try on.”

“That’s okay,” Regan began. “I think I’m done for the day.”

“No, wait! I’m so psyched. I thought we were out of this style but I found one last pair in the back and it’s your size! You’re going to love them.” Turquoise reverently unfolded the jeans in her hand and held them out. “Aren’t these cool?”

Regan stared. The jeans had holes in the knees the size of bread plates. Holes surrounded by fray. “I don’t think that’s what I’m looking for.”

Regan felt decidedly unhip. She was thirty-one years old but suddenly being around Turquoise made her feel at least a hundred.

“You never know until you try,” Turquoise said with a twinkle in her heavily made-up eyes.

“That’s true of a lot of things in life,” Regan said, “but I’ll take a pass.”

“No prob. Would you like to put your purchase on your Trendsetters credit card?”

“No, thanks,” Regan said quickly.

“Do you have a Trendsetters credit card?”

“No.”

“Would you like to apply for one today? You’ll get ten percent off.”

“No, really. But thanks. I’ll get changed and be right out.”

“Okay. I’ll meet you out front.”

Regan pulled off the jeans, started to lose her balance, and stepped on one of the straight pins that she had been carefully avoiding. “Ow,” she grumbled as she pressed her hand against the wall to steady herself. I’ve got to get out of here, she thought. She checked her foot to see if there was any blood before she slipped on the white pants that had felt chic before she set foot in the store. At the register, as Turquoise rang up the purchase, she asked for Regan’s e-mail address and phone number. “You’ll get advance word on Trendsetters sales!”

“I’d rather not.”

“Are you sure? You might miss out on some really super deals.”

It’s a risk, Regan thought, but a risk I’m willing to take. “I’m sure,” she replied as she signed the credit card receipt.

Turquoise folded the jeans and placed them in a plastic bag. The words “Come back soon,” had barely escaped her lips before she hurried off to greet an attractive, conservatively dressed woman in her fifties who had just come through the door.

Good luck, lady, Regan thought, as she escaped into the California sunshine and donned her sunglasses.

Regan walked along the upscale outdoor mall that was a welcome addition to the Los Angeles shopping scene. A large, modern timepiece towering over the fountain that was the centerpiece of the mall read October 4th, 4:05 P.M. The warm air and the softening of the afternoon light calmed her. And just being out of that dressing room was a relief! But Regan was ready to head back to the hotel.

Private investigator Regan Reilly had lived in Los Angeles when she met Jack Reilly, head of the NYPD Major Case Squad. The occasion? The kidnapping of Regan’s father, Luke, along with his driver. Regan and Jack had worked, along with his team, on getting them back safely. The two had been together ever since. People often laughed about how convenient it was they both had the same last name, then invariably added that they looked like they were made for each other.

Regan’s dark hair, blue eyes, and light skin were termed “Black Irish.” 6'2" Jack was sandy-haired, hazel-eyed, and what Regan termed “incredibly handsome.” They had an apartment in Tribeca—the triangle below Canal Street—in New York City. Her parents, Nora Regan Reilly, a well-known mystery writer, and Luke, owner of three funeral homes, lived in Summit, New Jersey, where Regan had grown up. Luke loved to take the credit for introducing them. “If I hadn’t been kidnapped, . . . ” he’d joke, his face beaming with pride. “Anything for my daughter.”

So much about my life has changed since I left L.A., Regan thought as she headed for the multistoried parking structure. It’s hard to believe I was living here not so long ago. It’s good to be back for a visit, especially since I’m with Jack.

They’d arrived late the night before on a last-minute trip. For the next few days Jack would be meeting with the LAPD, then they would take off in their rental car. Perhaps head north to wine country for the weekend. Perhaps south to Baja. See which way the wind blew, that was their plan.

Regan decided to stop for a moment and sit on a bench near the fountain and check her phone. The fountain that not only gushed water, but played music. Miracles will never cease, she thought as she reached in her purse. Jack had texted her. No surprise that I never heard my phone in that store. She read his message:

Looks like today’s meeting will run well into the evening. Giving you a heads-up so you can make dinner plans with one of your old pals. I love you. Jack.

Regan felt a stab of disappointment. I shouldn’t, she thought. His work is the reason we’re here. She put her cell phone back in her purse, stood up, and once again started toward the parking lot. A slender woman wearing a long skirt and peasant blouse was a few steps ahead of Regan, moving quickly, carrying several shopping bags in each hand. A small brown bag at the top of one of them fell to the ground. Regan scooped it up, caught up to the woman, and tapped her on the shoulder.

“Excuse me,” Regan said. “You just dropped this.”

The woman slowed down and turned to Regan. She was wearing large sunglasses. “Huh?”

“This just fell out of one of your bags.”

“Oh, thank you! That is so nice of you,” she said, putting her bags on the ground. “I’m rushing too much.” She took the bag from Regan, then tried to fit it in with her other purchases but there wasn’t enough room. “Oh, my,” she mumbled.

“If you’re going to your car, I’ll help you,” Regan offered.

The woman shook her head vehemently as she continued to try and rearrange her bags. “Oh, no, that’s okay. I can handle it.”

She must be afraid I’m some kind of con artist, Regan thought with amusement. “Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“You’re not going to let your old game show friend help you out?” Regan teased.

“What?” The woman quickly glanced up at Regan.

“As I recall, we had a lot of laughs the few days we spent together at the television studio in Burbank waiting our chance to wow the world on Puzzling Words.”

The woman straightened up and screamed. “Regan?”

“Zelda!”

They hugged, then both took off their sunglasses. “I’m so sorry I didn’t recognize you,” Zelda stammered as she pushed back her mane of brown curls. Beads of sweat had formed on her forehead. “I’m in such a hurry.”

“That’s okay. It must be about seven or eight years. You look great.”

“Thanks, you too! Neither of us won the big money but we both came so close!” Zelda cried. “And remember that horrible clue your celebrity gave you when you were playing for twenty grand?”

Regan laughed. “I’ll never forget it.”

“You were in detective school. We exchanged numbers but never got in touch.”

“I called you once,” Regan teased. “But I never heard back.”

“You’re right. My life was in such confusion. First I was so upset about not winning the money, then I thought too much time had passed to call you back.”

“It’s okay,” Regan said.

“Is that a wedding ring you’re wearing?”

“Yes. And I live in New York now. We’re out here for my husband’s work.”

“Wonderful! I’m still looking for the right guy. Maybe I’ll meet him before I turn forty. That gives me three months! But I’ve had a few good things happen in my life since I last saw you. . . .”

They walked to Zelda’s car, during which time Regan learned that Zelda had been left $8 million by an elderly neighbor she barely knew.

“Eight million dollars!” Regan gasped.

“Can you believe it? This woman lived in my apartment building. She was a loner. I always said hello when we passed each other in the hallway, I held the door for her, and when she wasn’t feeling well I offered to walk her dog. She let me do that a few times but wasn’t interested in even having a cup of tea together. After she died, I was flabbergasted she left me anything, never mind that much. My building was nice, but not the kind of place where you’d imagine someone down the hall had at least eight million dollars in the bank.”

“I guess it makes up for losing on the game show,” Regan remarked.

“It does,” Zelda said. She laughed heartily, instantly bringing Regan back to those days in the studio. Not a single bad clue went without comment. Zelda and Regan both prayed Betty White would be their celebrity partner. No such luck.

“So when did you become a multimillionaire?”

“Almost a year ago.” They reached Zelda’s Mercedes and loaded the bags in her trunk. “Listen, Regan, I have to hurry. This week I’m staying in an old Hollywood Hills estate. I don’t think anyone has lived there in years. The owner donated the use of the house for a week, as a prize at a charity auction. I bid the most—which isn’t saying much because nobody else wanted it. I’m having a dinner party tonight. Why don’t you and your husband come along?”

“Jack is working.”

“So come by yourself. The place is a kick. There are hiking trails next to the property. I was thinking of suggesting a moonlit walk after dinner if people are up to it.”

“That sounds great, Zelda. What time?”

“8:00.”

“I’ll be there,” Regan said as she wrote down the address. “It’s so funny to run into you like this.”

“It was meant to be, Regan. I truly believe that. I’ve been studying the universe. Everything happens for a reason. I coach people on that.

“Coach people?”

“I’m a life coach. I’ll tell you about it tonight. Can I give you a ride to your car?”

“No, thanks, it’s up on the next level. It’s easier to walk.”

“Okay. See you later.”

Regan waved as Zelda backed out her car. Wow, Regan thought. What a story. She turned, and immediately noticed a tall, scruffy guy wearing a baseball cap and jeans coming into the garage from one of the side stairwells, a set of keys in his hand. Anxiously, he glanced around. Regan watched as he rushed down one aisle, up the next, then tried a key in the passenger door of a small car. It didn’t work. Quickly he backed away. He walked up another aisle and tried the key again with no luck.

What is he doing? Is he looking for a car to steal? Regan asked herself. Most people have at least some idea of where they parked their car. Surreptitiously Regan followed him as he went up and down the aisles looking around, then headed for the main staircase and hurried down the steps. Her heart beating fast, Regan followed after him to the lower level where he also scouted out cars. She tried to keep her distance, but when he started back toward the main stairwell he seemed to sense her presence, stopped, and glanced around. Their eyes met.

People were strolling to their cars, unaware of what was going on. I can’t put anyone in danger, Regan thought as she quickly turned and started to walk away. A moment later she turned back.

He was gone.

Regan headed to the security office as fast as she could.

Product Details

  • File Size: 5123 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Publication Date: April 3, 2012
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005GG0MV0
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,464 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like CHG's Regan Reilly books ... no, they are never going to be compared (in a good way) to classic novels or even her own mother's books, but generally they will provide the reader with an entertaining few hours.

Gypped was incredibly lame. First of all Regan has been 31 for at least a decade. Jack is always loving arm candy and has been conveniently disposed of "in a conference" in at least four novels. I suppose its harder to have disagreements (or sex) if you are never in the same city. Not that I expect these to turn in to Fifty Shades of Regan Reilly, but Jack-and-Regan-the-couple are just BORING.

This book had zero plot twists and the even the predictable coincidences were so transparent, I assume they were put in as filler to make the book appear more than twelve pages. The bad guys are identified so quickly I wouldn't have been suprised to see yellow highlighter over their names. I read the Kindle version and kept waiting for the story to evolve - with the Kindle, you can't really tell how far you are into a book. However, it was painfully simple to recognize the end was near (all the characters converge) and I kept thinking, "no ...there is going to be another character, or an alien invasion or SOMETHING."

Alas, no such luck. The good guys all wipe a tiny bead of persperation off their brows and thank Regan for saving the world and Regan and Jack ride off into the sunset to not have sex. Or argue, or drive into the San Andreas Fault where they might have to have an interesting conversation while trying to figure out how they are going to get out.

The Kindle version is $13 plus change...buy chocolate instead.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Carol Higgins Clark's newest effort (though little effort seems to have gone into it) is both a disappointment and an insult to the reader. First, it's so short that plot development suffers; sometimes it seems like more of an extended outline than a completely developed story. And it must have been thrown together very fast, otherwise how to explain the sloppy treatment of the characters' thoughts? I believe an 8th grader could have done as well on the internal monologues, many of which are not even introduced. (Is it too much trouble to insert a "she thought," or "she mused," rather than just plunging into the charcter's head?) Clearly the book suffered from no editing whatsoever; a cursory scan would reveal this kind of flaw. Also, there is an excess of short, declarative sentences. Again, think of that 8th grader.

The plot and characters are typical of the author; it's the development and treatment that are lacking. It shows little respect for her readers, most of whom undoubtedly have read the entire series and buy the newest book believing it will be of similar quality to the others. Plus, she piggybacks on her mother's publishing date, which probably guarantees still more readers.

The title of the book, "Gypped," is an accurate description of how this reader felt.
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Format: Hardcover
The title of this book describes how I feel about having spent money on it. This is the worst Regan Reilly book ever...I have enjoyed all of the others but this one leaves much to be desired.Example page 60 and entire paragraph about basements. This book appears to have been written by a 12 year old. A case of another author cheating their fans
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Format: Kindle Edition
I just finished this book and immediately came online to see if anyone else thought it was as bad as I thought it was.

This was the first Carol Higgins Clark book I've read and I probably won't read another. I'm used to reading actual mysteries with actual plot twists, ex. James Patterson, Harlan Coben, even the other 2 Higgins Clark women.

The only reason I finished it was to see how the vitamins plot fit into the story (spoiler: it didn't really, so she forced something).

The "mystery" man following Regan? Not for a minute did I think it was anyone else but the guy from the garage. I'll admit I was surprised at who it was, but otherwise the characters in this one are so dumb.

Zelda... you're dumb.
Regan... you're probably dumber.
Norman was kind of interesting, but it would have been more interesting if he wasn't such a "good guy"
Maggie/old lady story line was dumb.

Also the ending happened so fast and perfectly- was there something wrong with the tea or not? How did Zelda get sick in the first place?

Anyway, I'm glad other people disliked this book as much as I did.
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Format: Hardcover
You only need to look at the selling price of this dribble on Amazon. After only a month since release, the book is selling for less than a dollar by those who unwittingly purchased it at the retail price. This tripe is all dialogue, blank pages, and abbreviated chapters. Ms. Higgins needs to take a hiatus from writing in order to recoup some semblance of plot and character development. Her style has become so elemental that one must surmise she is using a middle-schooler as a shadow co-author. Regan Reilly has become the Dora the Explorer of investigation; she has become as shallow as the family backyard wading pool.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a Regan Riley fan, I was disappointed with this book. First, that the author would use a title that is a derogatory term applied to Romani is an insult. Carol Higgins Clark who developed such a great character in Regan Riley, just didn't live up to the quality of the previous Regan Riley books. This novel is extremely short, and at times is disjointed . The novel felt rushed, as if the author were in a hurry to meet a deadline. Had I not read the 14 previous Regan Riley mysteries maybe I would not have been so disappointed but this one left me wondering if it was worth the money I paid for this Kindle book. I always look forward to the interaction between Regan and her husband Jack and Regan and her parents. Several times Regan mentions wishing she were with Jack but he makes few appearances in the book. There are a couple of quick conversations with Regan's parents which add nothing to the book. Maybe it's time for Carol Higgins Clark to move on with a totally different character if she can bring back the quality of her previous writing.
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