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BETRAYAL by Danielle Steel

BETRAYAL

By Danielle Steel

Pub Date: March 27th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-385-34319-0
Publisher: Delacorte

Eccentric movie director falls prey to a sociopath sidekick and a feckless producer/lover in Steel’s methodical Hollywood morality tale.

Though a wildly successful director of blockbusters, Tallie Jones is the opposite of glamorous: Most of the time she wears her uncombed blond hair in disheveled dreads, her wardrobe is shabby, not shabby-chic, and she has an unfashionable, ill-advised tan. Her Bel Air mansion is functional, not lavish, and her live-in lover and business partner, Hunt, actually uses the high-end kitchen, preparing gourmet meals for Tallie after a long day of shooting. Tallie’s assistant and long-time best friend Brigitte, a trust-fund baby, monopolizes the glitz department: Rodeo Drive merchants happily bestow upon her free furs, jewelry and designer handbags. But Tallie’s close-knit support group is about to unravel. A potential investor in her next film wants to audit her books. Tallie’s accountant, 60ish Victor (whose plight with a gold-digging young wife provides a poignant subplot, sadly underdeveloped), complies. But how could meticulous Victor have overlooked monthly cash withdrawals of approximately $25,000 from Tallie’s accounts? Tallie’s bills are all handled (primarily by Brigitte) using checks or credit cards. Hunt and Brigitte are above suspicion—both have their own money and no overt motive to steal. Perplexed, Tallie hires a private eye, and soon her worst fears are confirmed: Hunt and Brigitte are not perfect. Not only was Hunt cheating on her with Brigitte for three years, for the last year he’s consorted with a new mistress, who’s now pregnant with his child. The FBI is called in, and handsome, down-to-earth, widowed agent Jim Kingston uncovers the full horror. The plot thickens, but never quickens: As Tallie copes with betrayals, the narrative creeps along, slowed by the characters’ repetitious musings over what could, and then did, go wrong.

Dodges drama at every turn.