BITCH GODDESS

Robert Rodi, Author
Robert Rodi, Author . Plume $13 (320p) ISBN 978-0-452-28310-7
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Rodi uses the checkered career of a B-movie bimbo as a vehicle to skewer the cult of celebrity in his latest novel, a typically raunchy romp that begins with actress Viola Chute dictating her memoirs to her ghost writer, E. Manfred Harry. Harry certainly has plenty of material to work with—Chute's past includes a veritable conga line of schlock movies, former husbands and enough scandalous behavior to keep a posse of gossip columnists busy for a long time. But both the bio project and Chute's career go down the tubes when the prime-time soap opera diva gets fired after demanding a million dollars an episode, and the network replaces Chute with her arch-rival, Georgia Kirkby, a serious but pompous actress who also has a stage background. The beleaguered Chute is also busy fending off a lawsuit from a paparazzo, and when the actress cuts Harry loose, he gets hired by Kirkby to dig up enough dirt on Chute's past to ruin her. Rodi fleshes out his rather skimpy primary plot by telling his story exclusively through letters, e-mails, interviews and the like, a tactic that works for the most part, although as the subplots and secondary characters begin to pile up the book becomes a bit busy. But most of this is just an excuse for Rodi's over-the-top commentary on the excesses of Hollywood culture and our obsession with celebrities; although occasionally silly, there's plenty of juicy fun for those who like their movie heroes well done. (Mar.)

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