THE LIST by Steve Martini


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 So you thought it was all fun and games having a breakout novel? Come listen to Martini, on leave from his series about defense attorney Paul Madriani (The Judge, 1996, etc.), spin this wild and wooly tale of a pseudonym caper from hell. Life hasn't been kind to Abby Chandlis. She's going nowhere in her Seattle law firm; her second career as a novelist is stalled; her shiftless ex is behind in his payments, leaving her dining on cat food. But Abby has an ace in the hole: a new novel that could hit the bestseller list with the force of a pile- driver. Could hit, if only Abby weren't so unglamorous (she's pushing 40), so shopworn (those old novels turn out to be worse than no help), so unpromotable. So Abby and her roommate Theresa decide to find a front, some male model who'll masquerade as ``Gable Cooper'' for a percentage of a take that stretches higher than Jack's beanstalk. And even though the front that Abby ends up with, soldier-of-fortune/failed novelist Jack Jermaine, isn't exactly what she was looking for, the two storm through a brightly malicious pipe dream of literary celebrity, as Abby sticks like glue to her supposed client's side while big-ticket agents, publishers, and producers fight over them like so many jackals. But even before take-charge Jermaine spirits his dazzled ghostwriter off to the Caribbean for some sun and sex, clouds have gathered on the horizon. Theresa has died in a suspicious accident that seems meant for Abby; Theresa's low-life husband Joey follows apace; the Seattle police are looking for Abby; so is a scandal-sheet reporter; and finally Abby wonders whether her own legal claim to her chart-busting novel might be a lot more slender than she thought--and might be based a little too exclusively on the testimony of her late friend. Absolutely irresistible balderdash--The Pelican Brief for everybody who isn't John Grisham. (First printing of 400,000; $350,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild/Mystery Guild main selection)

Pub Date: Feb. 10th, 1997
ISBN: 0-399-14261-4
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1996


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