TROPHY WIFE by Kelly Lange


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The Los Angeles-based Lange, a local TV news anchor, drops more names than clues in a first thriller that rarely feels like more than a paint-by-numbers exercise. The title character is Devin Bradshaw, a 34-year-old former womenswear designer who gave up her burgeoning career when she snagged wealthy Paul Bradshaw away from his first wife. Paul is the owner of a large sports apparel company that manufactures a line called ""Pulled Together"" -- from which five percent of the retail prices are supposed to go to social programs in South-Central Los Angeles. Devin is planning to leave her 60-year-old husband and return to work (even though ""Having every material thing in the world that she could possibly desire was certainly seductive....It was every woman's dream"") when he's shot and killed in his car. In Lange's two-dimensional sense of things, Paul is the Hard-Hearted Businessman; his secretary and former lover is the Woman Scorned; his brother, Sam, is the Jealous Underachiever; a Pulled Together worker attempting to unionize the shop is an Angry Black Man; and so forth. Devin, however, is never satisfactorily defined, even in clich‚ terms, since the reader is meant to wonder whether or not she's the murderer. There is some campy fun here, not in terms of the supposed mystery, which is crystal-clear from the start, but from Lange's relentless use of real-life people and places to add gloss to the story. When Paul and Devin throw a fancy shindig, the Clintons show up, as do the Mosbachers (""albeit Republicans""); and when Devin dines at Spago, she encounters Cher ""with her bagel-boy boyfriend,"" Linda Evangelista, Wynona Ryder, and Heidi Fleiss. She even befriends a fashion model and discovers lesbian chic. Meanwhile, Lange certainly keeps things moving -- the chapters are brief, and the cast is large. Entertaining for stargazers, but no big prize.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster