HOLLYWOOD WIVES by Jackie Collins
Kirkus Star


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After her relatively restrained detour into gangster-saga fiction (Chances, 1981), Collins returns to the sheer-sleaze category--with a relentlessly vulgar tale of adulterous Hollywood couples, over-the-hill stars, and (as a hokey, tacked-in extra) a psychomurderer on the loose. Ross Conti--""leathery tan, blue blue eyes and enormous cock""--is a fading superstar at 49, desperate for the lead in the new movie Street People; he's having a not affair with Karen, daughter of 60-ish star George Lancaster (who gets the role instead); and Ross' wife Elaine, a boozy kleptomaniac, is an alternately jealous, unfaithful, and loyal Hollywood wife. Meanwhile, over at Street People, young screenwriter Montana is fighting with older director/husband Neil Gray about casting the other roles--until Neil has a heart attack in the midst of threesies sex with dumb blonde Gina Germaine and a Eurasian hooker. (Neil and Gina, in fact, can't be pried apart till they get to the hospital.) Meanwhile, too, young loser Buddy Houston, a sometime gigolo with unlimited sex appeal and an innocent new bride named Angel, manages to get a screen test for a major Street People role; while his marriage suffers he wins both the part and a top agent--Sadie La Salle (who long ago was dumped by lover/client Ross Conti). And, as all these familiar movie-biz situations are juggled, there are also frequent chapters that follow young psycho-killer Deke Andrews from Philadelphia to California, with a troubled cop on his trail. Will sexually wacko Deke wind up in Beverly Hills? Of course. Will he turn out--in the often-laughable later chapters--to be the illegitimate child of one Hollywood character and the twin-brother of another? He sure will. So, after partners are switched, Street People collapses, and Buddy cleans up his act for Angel's sake, there'll be a final spate of gore and terrorizing--with Buddy coming to the rescue. Collins (The Stud, The Bitch) doesn't deserve even to sit at the same Ma Maison table with William Goldman (Tinsel) when it comes to believable, detail-rich, richly peopled Hollywood dirt; the roman à clef touches here are too crude to be effective--though Mrs. Gregory Peck, among others, will probably take offense. And only the crassest readers are likely to savor Collins' use of interior monologue (""Any cock in a storm!"") and pseudo-repartee (""Are we going to fuck or are we going to hold a funeral service for my tits?""). Still: a raw cut or two above late Harold Robbins--with serviceably contrived plotting, a certain dank energy, and even a smidgin of likability in the Buddy/Angel subplot.

Pub Date: July 7th, 1983
ISBN: 0671704591
Publisher: Simon & Schuster