Kirkus Reviews QR Code
INFAMOUS by Joan Collins


by Joan Collins

Pub Date: May 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-525-94129-0
Publisher: Dutton

Last spring, Dutton acquired the US rights to Collins's British bestseller Too Damned Famous, here renamed Infamous—a perfectly publishable Hollywood glamour-soap, neither wonderful nor horrible, though having its moments (`` `Do it,' said Katherine's inner voice. `Do it, you fool. You've tracked him down all the way to Vegas-what the hell do you want? Have you made a fool of yourself just for a shtup?' ''). Teasing readers with the possibility of a roman Ö clef, Collins (Love & Desire & Hate, 1990, etc.) makes her heroine a TV superstar, one Katherine Bennet of The Skeffingtons, a successful prime-time soap about a ``dysfunctional family'' of southern California winemakers. Called Kitty by her friends and the ``Georgia poison peach'' by an adoring public, Katherine is the actress all America loves to loathe. But in Collins's version (reversing the actual casting on her own real-life, long-running show, Dynasty), Kitty is an American, though the parts of the other two major Skeffs are played by Brits: an older man with ego and toupee problems, and a blond costar (who isn't, naturally, Linda Evans), a nasty, silicone-enhanced former child star who's carrying on a secret mud-slinging publicity campaign against Kitty. Slogging through 14-hour days on the set, eating endless meals of tunafish and rice cakes to stay thin, Kitty negotiates her trials and tribulations with the help of her cellular phone and a huge personal staff: agent, manager, publicist, secretary, maid, maid's husband, etc. Nightly, meanwhile, she bemoans the fact that, though famous, she's also loveless. So Katherine is easy pickings for the sexy sociopath she chooses to marry. How she eludes this homicidal husband (while wearing an 18th-century costume) as he pursues her through the predawn streets of Venice is a camp climax worthy of the Collins oeuvre, onscreen and off. By turns tedious and silly, with some interesting background on what happens behind the scenes of a TV series. (Literary Guild selection)