An effective, if not wholly original first novel, about the shark-infested waters of Hollywood—and that would be mostly lady sharks.
It’s the end of 2001 and nice girl Stacey is preparing for Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s staff farewell party. What begins as a celebratory evening ends with a bombshell: the conglomerate her fiancé works for has acquired a movie company and they’re moving to Los Angeles. It shouldn’t be too bad—a house in Beverly Hills, year-round sunshine, a happy husband—but for this independent New York girl, all she can imagine is the worst, and as luck would have it, that’s what she gets. The main obstacle between Stacey and happiness is Julia and Simon Mallis, the old owners of Pacificus. Kept on as consultants until the end of the next year, they begin waging war at Jamey and Stacey’s New York wedding (they rearrange the seating cards and take over as the entertainment). With Sun Tzu’s The Art of War in hand, Simon intends to have it all—cash from the company’s buyout and a hands-on role in its running. Unfortunately the battle moves to the home front and Stacey is the sole combatant. Wing skewers the absurdities of Hollywood life, and there is an abundance of raw material: charity benefits for odd diseases (helping excessively sweaty children is the cause du jour), daily color consultations (one wouldn’t want to show up at the Polo Lounge in chartreuse when clearly it’s a magenta day) and the oh-so-necessary study of Kabbalah. Stacey’s new social circle of Hollywood wives live a sad, parasitic life; their sole source of accomplishment is in one-upping each other in designer goods and plastic surgery. When Jamey and Stacey discover their house has been bugged, Stacey hatches a plan that will finally rid them of the comically malevolent Simon and Julia.
Wing, no stranger to clunky phrasing (Stacey and her housekeeper sit “reasonably companionably”), nevertheless has good fun with the wackiness of Hollywood lives.