Veteran show-biz journalist Joe Hyams certainly knows Hollywood as well as anyone, but this Hollywood novel--especially when contrasted with the likes of Larry McMurtry's Somebody's Darling--seems strangely out of focus and out of date. Who will win in the proxy struggle for control of World Studios? David Kazin's at the shaky helm now, but his itchy father Jere (the former head honcho) has just returned from Paris (with a nubile companion) and, ready to dive in again, has set up operations at the Beverly Hills Hotel. And when Jere discovers that his hotel cabana has been bugged by loving son David, he employs a team of foully precocious Beverly Hills teenagers--whiz-kid Kenny and loud-mouthed Freda--to be his electronic counterspies. Each side is gathering proxies. . . and dirt about the other side. Meanwhile, the chief stockholders converge: a multimillionaire whose fading actress wife needs a comeback, the daughter of a Big Star whose spineless husband needs a job. And with them comes a ruthless, sexy Time reporter. Though Hyams conveys the particular garish glow of the Beverly Hills Hotel milieu with panache, his behind-studio-doors politicking never catches fire. And though he seems to be avoiding pulpy sleaziness and striving for a lightly comic quality (those supposedly cute kids), there is a surfeit of predictable sentimental and melodramatic intrusions--like the suicide of David's wife when she catches him flagrante delicto in the back of a parked car during a party. Not unpleasant and not badly written, but only died-in-the-wool film fans will think up enough real-Hollywood parallels (like father and son Zanuck) to give this knowledgeable yet undramatic scenario the grab it so sorely lacks.