Dart (Show Business Kills, 1995, etc.) returns with yet another commercial tearjerker, a story that has success written all over it. Herself a former comedy writer, Dart presents us with Lily Benjamin, TV comedy writer, whose 15-year-old son, Bryan, has his spinal cord severed by a jealous husband’s gunfire. That’s the opening scene, hinting horribly that this deeply amusing novel is going to veer off into sober melodrama before it ends. But it doesn’t—it stays right on track for a soap-operatic climax. And Lily is surrounded by plum roles for actors. Her boss, hospitalized top comedy writer Harry Green, lies dying of cancer but still flowing with jokes and writing the latest episode of a schlocky sitcom. When Harry dies, he’s replaced by Charlie Roth, the God of Jokes to all comedy writers. Sometimes referred to as Quasimodo, Charlie is a physical mess, with a head forever bobbing, a gait so rolling and twisted he can barely climb steps—and a face that’s no pleasure to look at, either. When the comedy team gets to work on a new sitcom episode and Lily complains about their cigar smoke, Charlie hangs her by her ankles out the fourth- floor window. Yes, he’s stolen this trick from Sid Caesar and Mel Brooks, but even so it doesn’t endear him to Lily. Thus when Charlie, with humor and tricks, begins helping fellow cripple Bryan recover his will to live, Lily, now engaged to a blandly handsome cardiologist, is slow to respond. As for the climax, it will go down in pop history when it’s filmed.