After two delicious excursions into the raunchy glitter of the Hollywood star machine (Hollywood Wives and Hollywood Husbands), Collins nose-dives precipitously--with a sloppy, near-perfunctory tale of three pop-music heroes and the devious mogul who controls their lives. Kinky record-magnate Marcus Citroen and his sleek wife, Nova (a former prostitute who puts up with his taste for violent sex), live on a fantastic Malibu estate that contains three separate mansions and has enough room for--well, for a fund-raising party for Governor Jack Highland. Virtually ordered to perform are three of Marcus' top stars: libidinous English singer Kris Phoenix, who rises from hauling his ashes to oblige; top black performer Bobby Mandella; and young pop sensation Rafealla, who has made a Faustian deal with Citroen. In a series of long, obvious flashbacks that clumsily cut away from dramatic moments and derail all suspense, the reader learns: that Bobby Mandella's affair with Nova resulted in his being hurled from a 14-story apartment building by Marcus' hired thugs (he survived, but is now blind); that in return for a successful career, Rafealla has promised to slide her innocent body into Marcus' bed; and that Kris Phoenix really likes blondes (but will make an exception, later on, for Rafealla, who in any event is already the father of Phoenix's illegitimate child from a long-ago-forgotten ten minutes in the back of a limo). Add to this a band of jewel thieves who plunder the fund-raiser and hold all of the above-mentioned in a ""hostage situation""--and you've got a plot ridiculous even for the genre. Collins' usually sure-handed command of pacing has apparently deserted her, as has her jaundiced eye for the fake-outs and foibles of the rich and famous. Overall: a choppy, literal-minded outing that will disappoint old fans, and fail to attract new ones.