Harvey (Butterfly, 1988, and pseudonym for a ""major author"") offers a slick but suspenseless novel set at a glamorous...

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STARS

Harvey (Butterfly, 1988, and pseudonym for a ""major author"") offers a slick but suspenseless novel set at a glamorous mountain retreat for the rich and famous. Set atop Mount San Jacinto near Palm Springs, Star's is a top-flight, 42-room luxury retreat where Tinseltown's hottest wheelers and dealers go to lose weight, cut a deal, or indulge in forbidden romance. The owner, the mysterious Beverly Burgess, is a woman with a past: she once owned a high-class brothel (called Butterfly--the subject of Harvey's first novel) where women paid for sex with handsome young things. Beverly was clever enough to stage her own death to escape her nemesis, the evil and power-hungry Danny Mackay; she then changed her name, her appearance, and came back to life again. But what Beverly doesn't know is that Mackay is still bent on his own brand of sick revenge. Also unknown to Beverly is that she has a twin sister named Philippa Roberts (they were separated at birth when her destitute parents sold one of their daughters to a childless couple), who has spent years looking for her and, thanks to a private detective's lead, is now on her way to Star's as well. Because of the physical resemblance between the sisters, Mackay confuses Philippa with Beverly and follows her to Star's, where his attempts to kill her are thwarted by Beverly. If all this sounds pretty far-fetched, it is, and so are the other equally contrived subplots--Philippa's rise to fame and fortune as the head of a super-successful diet program; a beautiful Hollywood actress bent on seducing a screenwriter for the lead role in his new movie; etc. Meanwhile, the hackneyed descriptions of sex, the endless catalogue of brand-names, and the cookie-cutter characterizations don't help. For all its promise of dazzle, this is a lackluster attempt.

Pub Date: April 20, 1992

ISBN: 1583484795

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Villard/Random House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992