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Michael Blumlein. Dell Publishing Company, $4.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-440-21374-1

This lurid but ultimately unfulfilling exploration of gender identity paradoxically uses a single character to underscore the differences between men and women. After passing out drunk one night while dancing topless, Frankie de Leon awakens the next morning possessed by a man's personality. Shrugging this off as a manifestation of the alcoholism that has been consuming Frankie's life, boyfriend Terry Connor humors the confused stripper by helping him/her piece together the events of the last day. Frankie's change might involve some paranormal event that transposed her personality with that of a stripjoint patron who passed out at the same time. The author intimates the more plausible explanation of a personality disorder. Terry's patience with Frankie soon erodes. Frankie leaves, only to return after privately resolving to come to grips with his/her ``new'' body and to make Terry pay by exploiting his growing obsession with the stranger who used to be his lover. Blumlein ( The Brains of Rats ) is often perceptive regarding the condition of a male mind in a female body in a man's world, but he shows inadequate sensitivity to the plight of his hero/heroine and women in general. (Nov.)