There's not much to like or dislike in Dynasty star Collins' (Past Imperfect, 1984) first novel--a slickly paced, smoothly plotted, and largely characterless story of five actresses vying for a plum part on a prime-time soap opera. It's the early 80's and history is about to be made--TV history, that is. A new evening soap opera is casting. Named Saga, it's a stow of ""intrigue, corruption, betrayal, ambition and lust""; and its creators are looking for an actress to play the part of the ""bitch-goddess villainess Miranda."" English singer Chloe Carriere wants the part with a passion--she's turned 40 and desperately needs some kind of career boost--but then so do fading film-star Emerald Barrymore; anorexic actress Sissy Sharp (who looks ""ravaged--like a fugitive from Belsen""); Mexican sweetie Rosalinde Lamaze (sex queen to millions, though in bed she likes gifts); and young and beautiful Sabrina Jones (""America's newest golden girl,"" fresh from a sort of Charlie's Angels TV success). When the dust settles (as much as it ever does here), Chloe gets the part of Miranda. Which is more than she bargained for. Her marriage to dragged-up singer husband Josh breaks up; all she does is work (""If only the public recognized what a bloody grind this glamour job is""); and the international press--jackals, one and all--discover that Chloe's ""niece"" is really her illegitimate daughter. And so it goes, through Chloe's disputes with her producers and fellow stars (her leading man has AIDS) to nearly being killed by a lunatic fan (a page torn, almost literally, from sister Jackie's book) to a reconciliation with now-straight husband Josh. All very predictable and machine-like, with sex scenes spaced as if by computer. Those looking for serious behind-the-scenes Dynasty dirt will be disappointed, as will roman d clef aficionados in general (Collins' ""famous"" characters are such hybrids that they lack all reality). Overall, then, a so lackluster and pedestrian Hollywood romance that it might have been written by--well, anyone.