cover image Vedetta: Lucky's Revenge

Vedetta: Lucky's Revenge

Jackie Collins. HarperCollins Publishers, $25 (528pp) ISBN 978-0-06-039209-3

Straight-from-the-hip dialogue, designer clothing and gangsters are all reliably in place in Collins's fourth novel to feature the Santangelo family, particularly Lucky, who now heads a Hollywood studio. In previous exploits, this multitalented heroine has been married three times, built Vegas hotels, run a shipping empire and killed for revenge (as one character comments, ""she's had quite a life""). Along the way, she's made her share of enemies, not least of whom is Donna Landsman--formerly Donatella Bonnatti--who here stages a hostile takeover of Panther Studios, has Santangelo patriarch Gino shot and makes it appear as though Lucky's beloved husband, Lennie Golden, is killed on location in Corsica following a night's indiscretion. Mourning does not become Lucky, however, and all too soon she's involving herself with chauvinistic director Alex Woods (he of the ""smile like a crocodile--wide, captivating, and ultimately deadly"") even as Lennie is imprisoned in a Sicilian cave. When Lucky learns what she needs to know, however, the novel's subtitle comes into play, brutally. Collins's dialogue strains belief (""Ohmigod! she gasped, clinging to Nona. ""Ohmigod! No! No! NOOO!""), and she can express scarcely a sentence, a sentiment or a plot spin without resorting to cliche. As a vision of Hollywood and the mob, this novel is utterly outclassed by Mario Puzo's The Last Don. But its very lack of class and those very cliches make this an easy, nasty read, just the qualities that have previously pushed Collins to the top of the charts and will likely do so again. (Feb.)