The wild world of high-finance corporate takeovers is the setting for Rich's (Bijoux, 1989, etc.) latest novel, and it is peopled with leggy, slim women and rich, attractive men. Intrigue, money, betrayal, adultery are all ingredients in this frothy confection. Single mother Sheila Lockwood, originally from Atlanta and now an LA transplant, returns to Atlanta, charged with the task of revamping Covington Industries' image for the '90s (by making it a more environmentally conscious business). While Sheila works on the corporate makeover, a gallery of moneyed and greedy players battle for control of the Atlanta-based company. The avaricious cast includes R.C. Diamond, a billionaire who wants to acquire Covington for the sheer thrill of it; Covington president Jeremy Welsh, who covets his boss's job; Edgar Schultz, a high-powered New York raider who wants to prevent his estranged brothers from acquiring the company. While Covington Industries is being pulled this way and that, Sheila's personal life is also undergoing myriad upheavals: Her brazen assistant Kathleen is obsessed with good- looking Jeremy and dangerously jealous of Sheila's close working relationship with him; her parents are pressuring her to move permanently to Atlanta; her daughter's father, TV heartbreaker Yale Hollander, reappears and is eager to resume their relationship after a six-year hiatus; and her fiancÇ, screenwriter Tom Rivers, breaks their engagement after Kathleen lies to him about Sheila and Jeremy's relationship. Sheila is a likable, though enigmatic, heroine; unfortunately, the other characters are too sketchy and never develop much in the way of personalities. Rich's writing is generally mundane, often enlivened by such unintentionally funny lines as ``Her self-esteem is near zero.'' Hackneyed but entertaining.
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