Cat Five echoes Poe's great short story ""The Masque of the Red Death'--only this time it's wet death as hurricane winds hit 248 mph and a 40-foot tidal wave wipes out 11,340 residents of Palm Beach, Florida, and injures 23,189 others. Indeed, giant sharks swim through the downtown show-windows and snap at anything that moves. The 40-story Century Towers, where the rich have gathered in costumes and jewels to hold a gala hurricane party complete with orchestra, bountiful food and booze, turns out to be shoddily built, and the building's greedy designer is inside when its walls start to crack and explode in the climactic tornado (the cherry, so to speak, on the tidal wave of the hurricane). The Palm Beach eccentrics have little more depth than the figures in Poe's short story; all are bizarre sinners and deserve to die--and most do. The vapid snobbery of the wealthy is stressed throughout as famous landmarks disappear forever. Form-ridden by the disaster mold, and uninspired, but Floridians will either enjoy it or burn it in bushels.