Just This Once: A Novel Written by a Computer Programmed to Think Like the World's Bestselling..
Scott French. Carol Publishing Corporation, $18.95 (295pp) ISBN 978-1-55972-173-8
If the books of Jacqueline Susann and Harold Robbins seem formulaic, this debut novel of sin and success in Las Vegas outdoes them all. And that, in a way, is the point. Subtitled ``A novel written by a computer programmed to think like the world's bestselling author,'' this potboiler is as superficial as its models. In Vegas for a quickie divorce, Harvard M.B.A. Carol Davis effortlessly lands a weighty job as assistant to Nick Salerio, owner of the DollHouse casino. Carol's romantic interest is Taylor Stevens, a slick character who once cheated the DollHouse but has since come to work for Salerio in return for unbroken kneecaps. Meanwhile, Carol's roommate, cabaret performer Lisa Steel, has achieved stardom, yet her career seems imperiled by her amazing appetite for cocaine and other drugs. French never explains how much of this tale required a human touch and how much issued forth from his hard drive. In fact, there's no indication that anything out of the ordinary was involved in constructing the predictably debauched, mediocre plot. All novelty rests in the conceit of computer authorship, not in the story itself. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1993