WEST OF PARADISE by Gwen Davis

WEST OF PARADISE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Davis again vamps the Hollywood scene, unreeling spools of bitchy repartee actually superior to the chat in All About Eve. In Jade (1991), Davis tried to get a lock on a stronger plot by adding a crime theme to her usual yardage of glitz. Here, with suspense lapsing somewhat, a slow-moving plot and the glittering badinage carry equal weight. Would-be writer Kate Donnelly arrives in Hollywood after getting her degree and falls in with actor/dope-dealer Wilton Spenser and Lila Darshowitz, the overweight widow of Larry Drayco, whom she meets when crashing Drayco’s funeral. At Drayco’s wake at Wolfgang Puck’s, Wilton introduces Kate around as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s illegitimate granddaughter who, he claims, happens to own a sequel to Fitzgerald’s unfinished The Last Tycoon. Kate, in fact, has a crush on Fitzgerald’s legend of genius and hubris and hopes to do a Monroe Stahr-like turn on the memory of Larry Drayco, even though absolutely nobody has a good word to say about super-rat Larry D. Meanwhile, major player Norman Jessup, now engaged to boyishly rail-thin beauty Carina, hopes to avenge himself on ex-confidante Sarah Nash, whose bestselling Hollywood exposÇ outed him as a gay. When he sues her for breach of contract and fraud, he loses, which only deepens his thirst for her blood. Sarah goes into hiding, but Norman has his handsome houseguest, the surprisingly decent, straight, and much sought after Tyler Hayden, tail her. She in turn chases new dirt on Norman. Kate rides her nonexistent sequel into press interviews, a contract with an agent, and friendship with the glamorous Duchess Wendy (read Princess Di). Sarah’s joy grows when she learns that Carina is actually Norman’s lover Paulo, plastically altered, a story perfect for exposure on Norman/Carina’s wedding day. A variety of foul deeds and sleazy maneuvers arise, and Davis is there to log them in gleefully. Brilliant fun.

Pub Date: May 29th, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-18678-9
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1998