Robinson's seventh book is a New Hollywood sequel to Perdido (1978) in which the follies of the older generation continue to provide the best dirt. Recalled from London to L.A. by the drive-by shooting of her best friend, journalist Kate Alder Stone, Alexandra Zachary, normally happy heading her independent production company abroad, can't help chafing under the news that Victor Levanin International (VLI), the studio her great-grandfather founded and his heirs grandly squandered, is once again on the block. Alex's need to share the news of Kate's death with her lifelong love, Oscared leading man King Ryder, has already put him back in her Rolodex again. Also back in her life, if not between her sheets, is her despicable ex Rick Stone, powerful head of rival studio SMS, the man she married on the rebound from King's marriage, and the one who left her with a precocious daughter but not a single good memory. When Rick confirms the rumor that he's the leading suitor for VLI, Alex grows determined to outbid his billion- dollar offer, even though it means going hat in hand to her remote parents, her buddies in the business, and her actress friend Polo Montana's husband Baron Solder Task, the German Ted Turner. But how can Alex ever raise all that money in time to beat Rick when there are so many limos to take, so many childhood traumas to recall, so many pithy apothegms about Old Hollywood to recycle (``You knew if you had presence by five. By seven you were on to your best angles. . . .''), so many names to drop with a clatter (``You had an amazing childhood; you met the Kennedys, Paul Newman, Toni Morrison, Martin Luther King, danced with Gene Kelly. . . . You've been in the greatest private projection rooms in the world'')? Kate's death, by the way, will turn out to be no casual accident, unlike almost everything else in this gaspingly star- struck dinosaur, whose DNA seems to have been preserved in amber ever since the studio era.
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