SKYCASTLE by Steve Krantz


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Blatantly reminiscent of other, better Big-Money business/family tangles, this contemporary-Texas story throws in all the reliable elements--plucky heroine, assorted suitors, family feuds, vengeance, the threat of bankruptcy, sexual scandal--but never manages to generate much narrative momentum or emotional involvement. Devlin Younger is the daughter of ruthless, rags-to-riches L. C. Younger, the tycoon-king of the Houston-harbor towing/storage/shipping business. But though Devlin is enchanted with fork-lifts, L.C. refuses to let her work for him: he wants Devlin merely to marry his protÉgÉ Tune Richards. And so, despite happy sex with Tune, she impetuously strikes out on her own--inspired by the sad example of her un-liberated mother (a repressed, poetic belle whose crush on a stereotype-homosexual poet ends in murder/scandal). Devlin waitresses in San Antonio, gets beaten up by a pimp, learns to play a mean hand of poker, hits the road, and acquires an old-coot sidekick who's savvy about oil: together they wangle possession of one oil lease (doing legal battle with the big WESTEX company)--and before you know it, Devlin is the richest wild-catter in Texas. Returning to Houston in glory, she dallies with movie-star David (her first orgasm), stages a rodeo in Beverly Hills, then reasserts her independence. (""He's made me a slave to his lousy moods, his disapproval, and his cock."") But L.C.'s old Houston-harbor enemies are busily plotting against the Youngers: the dock area goes down in flames, causing L.C. to suffer a stroke. And when Devlin decides to build a huge hotel/commerce complex on the ruins of L.C.'s domain--""Skycastle""--she soon finds herself undermined by her old enemies. So: Will Devlin have to surrender her independence yet again to avert bankruptcy, in a rotten deal with the powerful, old-Texas Lord family? Or will yet another lucky oil strike save the day? The answer is obvious--as is just about everything else here. But, for undemanding fans of the Sidney Sheldon genre, this mechanical concoction (which lacks Sheldon's energy and savvy) may offer a serviceable mix of wheeler-dealing, sex, Texas backgrounds, and female gutsiness.

Pub Date: April 12th, 1982
Publisher: Macmillan