The boot-strap careers of a brother and sister up through the mega-real estate biz (1957-83)--in a plywood-thin novel that, furnished with romance and Grand Rapids sex, does offer a diverting spread of dirty dealing by both banking and building piranhas. Genie and Max Szabo are just the super's kids in the Majestic apartment buildings where they live--with honest father Zoltan and dour mother Anna (who preaches humility). But upstairs is the family of Andre Husseman, who allows his children to mix with the Szabos--and it's through Andre's son Paul and owner's-agent Jack O'Neil that the Szabos are not ousted from their own apartment. Several years later, then, college-grad Genie is working for O'Neil and in love with Paul; Max is also beginning a career in real estate, having taken to heart Paul's confession about all the mean things one can do within the frame of Title One. And the big break comes when wheeler-dealer Andre forces Genie to give up Paul, now an impecunious but artistically successful director--who weds pregnant, rich Joan Rosen. . . while the crushed Genie comes away with eight buildings in Queens. Now she can pursue her dreams--to produce cheap co-op apartments for those of meager means. Her backer: banker Raymond Brenner, front for a Mafia operation. Wheels turn; it's sex time for Genie and Raymond; Max beats up Paul, blaming him for his sister's ""whoring."" And Con Vert-Co, the Szabo partnership, is soon booming, as buildings are being bought and coopted--even if Genie doesn't bother to notice how Max is whipping tenants into line. But the final disaster comes about through one of Max's girls--a nut named Stacey with a rich, vengeful father: Max is killed; Genie discovers the evils of her own company, throws in the towel, and heads for a better life with a long-lost love. Standard soap/sex climbing--but some of the info about how to turn bricks into gold is chillingly convincing.