Hippie-pop diva Collins--she of the Vaseline-lensed album photos and the ethereal Dylan covers--fumbles through her fiction debut, dropping fashionable names alongside bits and pieces of malformed plot. ""He excluded a sexual energy that was explicitly, powerfully male,"" muses Catherine Saint, a middle-aged rock music photojournalist who chain-smokes Pall Malls and pines muchly for another coupling with her yuppie-stud boyfriend, Edward Valarian, while bumping frequently into the likes of Cher, Faye Dunaway, Robert DeNiro, and Sting. Meanwhile, what Catherine doesn't know is that her dissolute lawyer is secretly draining her bank account to finance a payola scheme for a band called the Newborns; the lawyer's wife, aiming to complete Catherine's destruction on the personal side, is having an affair with Edward. What triggers the last turn in this awful state of affairs are the assault and then murder of Catherine's assistant, who'd stumbled across bank records of the embezzlement. The resulting investigation pairs Catherine with a police detective on whom she gradually develops a major crush. Tossed into the salad of wilted references to baby-boom cultural heroes are visits to choice Manhattan art, media, and entertainment spots, including an ultra-gala opening for Catherine's painter chum that plays more like a film premiere and a just-say-no subplot that features a Kurt Cobain-style rock junkie on the verge of suicide. A series of vignettes that tell the story of Catherine's troubled rural upbringing further muddle the indecisive plot. Love eventually saves everyone's day, but never has Collins managed to hit so many false notes.