DEEDS by Joseph Amiel


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Compulsive storytelling about the world's largest trio of structures, being built in Manhattan. Real-estate tycoon Ralph Behr, who has the same ego but not the background of Donald Trump, is the grandson of Jewish immigrant architect Raphael Behar, a man of flamboyant imagination, and son of Henry Behr, a real-estate shark of no morals and no imagination. Both Raphael and Henry were forced to forgo the loves of their lives and marry less idealized mates. Now Ralph himself is trapped in a loveless marriage with Jane Fonda-styled women's activist Gail Weintraub--while pursuing his great love, the wealthy Amanda Brookhouse, the blue-blooded daughter of Metrobank bigwig Charles Brookhouse, a widower who married Nina Pollard, who was Henry Behr's lost love long ago and is mother of illegitimate Ralph and now stepmother of Amanda. This is a story of full-blooded stereotypes. Some time ago, Gail's father, Abe Weintraub, took the fall for Henry Behr and did a 20-year jail sentence while leaving rapacious Henry free to make money for the both of them. Now Henry and son Ralph have $200,000,000. But Gail's father, out of jail, justly claims half of the $200M, and has the blackmail to prove it. However, the only way to avoid taxes in such a massive transfer of funds is to have Gail marry Ralph, then divorce him two years later and get a $100M divorce settlement. This is not a Fountainhead about modern architecture; it's about ""deeds"" (the real-estate kind), and Ralph's amassing enough land and credit to realize his great dream: building three 150-story towers, called Behr Center. And author Amiel throws everything possible into Ralph's path, including a disaster once one tower is underway. Lively characters, considerable authenticity about deal-making, the building trades, the high and the mighty and their houses and horses, and a revarnished Balzacian plot add up to a readable moneymaker that must have been fun to write as the sex scenes were welded into place.

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 1987
Publisher: Atheneum