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DROP DEAD BEAUTIFUL by Jackie Collins

DROP DEAD BEAUTIFUL

By Jackie Collins

Pub Date: June 26th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-312-34179-4
Publisher: St. Martin's

Collins’ 25th is a silver-anniversary sleaze-fest starring “Lady Boss” Lucky Santangelo in a supporting role.

Somewhere around 40-plus (nobody knows how plus), Lucky stopped aging. Long married (by Tinseltown standards) to soul mate Lennie Golden, she’s abandoned movie moguldom and reverted to her roots: ruling Vegas. Her mammoth resort/condo/casino, The Keys, is about to open. But Lucky is preoccupied with the 95th birthday bash she’s hosting for her father, ex-mob boss Gino, at her Bel Air mansion. Elegant hand-delivered missives instructing Lucky to “Drop dead Beautiful” are mere annoyances compared to worries about her teenage daughter Maria, aka Max, who hasn’t returned from a supposed outing with friends in time for Gino’s party. Lucky’s Vegas banker has also disappeared, after a blind date with drug lord Anthony Bonnatti, aka Bonar, grandson of mob matriarch Francesca Bonnatti. Francesca is after Anthony to blow up the Keys and win the long-running (six books so far) Santangelo-Bonnatti blood feud. Leaving the pyrotechnics and banker body disposal to the experts, Anthony must contend with two mistresses who feign orgasms (not that he cares) and whiny wife Irma, a virtual prisoner at his Mexico City villa. After bearing him two children, now spoiled teenagers running designer-shod over their nanny at Bonar’s Miami digs, Irma is of no further use to Anthony. However, lately she’s taken up with a handsome gardener—no feigning required. In a remote cabin, Max is shackled to a bed by a man she met online, Henry Whitfield-Simmons, heir to a fortune—if only his uncooperatively healthy 70ish mother would kick the bucket. Henry blames Lucky for destroying his acting chances when she hired then-unknown Billy Melina to star opposite arch-diva Venus, in an Oscar-magnet director’s new flick. After her harrowing escape, Max is grounded forever, at least until the Keys opening, where the plot lines and characters converge in fireworks galore.

Despite phoned-in thrills, a breathless hurtle to the “explainer” epilogue.