THE HAMPTONS by Leonard Harris


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This stab at glitterati fiction is far clumsier than Harris' last stab at suspense fiction (Don't Be No Hero, 1978). But what the two books have in common is talk, talk, talk--talk that's would-be clever, actually deadly-dull. The gabbers here, heard mostly over one Labor Day weekend and in some repetitive flashbacks, are a foul clutch of media types, presumably meant to be typical of those who summer in the chic Hamptons at the eastern end of Long Island. Chief yakkers: crass writer Bea Fletcher, who's about to finish an already-notorious roman à clef about her neighbors; Bea's sometime lover, comedy-writer Harry Majors; Harry's ex, paperback publisher Sally, who's determined to get the rights to Bea's book; John Wainwright, a local blueblood and hardcover publisher whom Sally's going partners with (but she'd betray him if necessary); has-been movie producer Buster Reilly, who's hot for the movie rights; his ex, TV newswoman Carlotta; Irv Schnell, Bea's super-agent; and shady tycoon Freddie Kohl, who fears Bea's revelations and is trying to buy up all the rights for himself. Among the less talkative folk on the fringes: kinky N.Y. Gov. Mike Hughes, whom Freddie supplies with underage, three-sies sex (filming the Gov. in action, blackmail-style); and a fading starlet who'll do anything with anybody to get a good role. Unfortunately, one never believes that Bea's novel is the sort of bombshell/mega-book that everyone would sell their souls and/or bodies for. And things are only marginally enlivened when, after the weekend's big party, Freddie is found dead in his pool: any whodunit tension collapses as a local cop plods from suspect to suspect, conducting rehash interviews and inspiring those tiresome flashbacks. The only convincing moment here, in fact, comes when Harry suggests that Freddie died because ""we were. . . too talky. . . . We did talk him to death."" Talky indeed--and tacky without being trashy fun.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1981
Publisher: Wyndham/Simon & Schuster