FAME'S PERIL by Martha Smilgis


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A noisy, gut-punching first novel by a magazine journalist (Time, Sports Illustrated, People) who's covered enough of the celebrity scene to background this kidnapping-suspense tale with plenty of star-parading grounds and hilarious in-chat. Little Doni Shay, three-year-old son of film director Richard and stage actress Emily, is snatched away from his East Hampton home by two wet suits who arrive by sea. And during the next seven months--while his estranged, agonized parents hope and cope--the tot is in the shoddy care of druggie Rita, who transports him from one filthy digs to the next (Doni's brave coping appears in italicized excerpts throughout). The main action, however, concerns the impact of the kidnapping on the piranha media boys and girls--from Tommy Train, a Geraldo-style TV host (""standard teleporn....Slo-mo stabbings, Satanic prophets..."") to tough heart-of-platinum Jack Wertz, pro reporter (whose sleuthing eventually springs the kid). Jack has the hots for Kansas-bred, luscious Ceci, producer for Train and headed for anchordom. Meanwhile, press boys and photographers, both ruthless and comradely, rush for bylines and deadlines on the Shays, etc., and there's plenty of hard-working sex. But a kind of honest love surfaces at the close--though Ceci's is off in TV gloryland. For insiders, this do of the tabs and other tell-all media is probably a jolly bed of nails; for others, it offers great fun in extravagantly shady, cracking-wise celeb scenes (real people circulate, even utter), sex-cess, and dirty tricks. Doni's progress is certainly overshadowed but still involving.

Pub Date: May 5th, 1992
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster