Rupert Holmes, Author . Random $24.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-679-45220-1

Holmes is an award-winning Broadway playwright and composer (The Mystery of Edwin Drood; Accomplice), so it's only appropriate that his hugely entertaining first novel should be set in the world of show business. It purports to be the account of one K. O'Connor (we never learn her first name), a smart, pretty and accomplished young journalist who has been commissioned to write a book about a celebrated comedy team of the '60s, Vince Collins—who sang smoothly and was a ladies' man, and Lanny Morris, who clowned around (Martin and Lewis, anyone?). At the height of their career, a dead girl was found in their hotel room, and although neither of them was accused (they had airtight alibis), the incident put an end to their act, and as the book begins, they haven't seen each other for years. O'Connor sniffs around Collins, reads some chapters Morris has set down for a book of his own and begins to wonder just where the truth does lie. Holmes has a wonderful feeling for period detail, and the '60s and '70s spring vividly back to horrific life through the brilliant narration of the romantically susceptible O'Connor. For much of its course the novel is witty, sexy and suspenseful, but eventually it morphs into a more conventional whodunit, with one of those windups in which a complicated plot is sorted out in improbable dialogue between accuser and perpetrator, and the giddy pleasures of the first two-thirds are somewhat overshadowed. That's not enough, however, to spoil what is for most of the way a glittering ride. (July)

Forecast:With the intriguing combination of a Broadway name as a first novelist, a sensational plot, an attractive reader's edition for BEA and a hearty push from its editor, Jon Karp, this is bound to be one of the more talked-about fiction debuts of the summer. Movie rights to director Atom Egoyan.

Reviewed on: 06/02/2003
Release date: 06/01/2003
Compact Disc - 978-0-7366-9482-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-0457-0
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-5266-5
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-8129-7223-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7393-0739-7
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 287 pages - 978-1-58836-328-2
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