cover image With Friends Like These

With Friends Like These

Nicholas Coleridge / Author St. Martin's Press $24.95 (384p) I

Set in the glitzy world of London magazine publishing, this absorbing thriller is strong enough on sly insider atmosphere to compensate for its occasionally weak plot. Managing director of a Conde Nast-like magazine empire, Kit Preston has plenty to worry about as he negotiates the final stages of his divorce and faces his upcoming 40th birthday; but bigger problems begin when his star journalist, Anna Grant, writes a tell-all profile of the discontented wife of German industrialist Bruno Fulger. The article produces a complex aftermath that includes threats of lawsuits, staff infighting, a blistering attack on Anna in a rival magazine and the possible loss of a cosmetics ad account. Meanwhile, Kit and Anna yield to longstanding temptation and fall into each others' arms. When Anna is found strangled in her bed, grief-stricken Kit becomes a suspect and--fired by Fulger, who has bought the company--sets out to find the killer, depending on nothing but his own wits. Though the novel is marred by an improbable, unsatisfying resolution, Coleridge writes compellingly, with a gift for conveying both his characters' inner turmoil and the glossy backdrop of the London high life. (Nov.) FYI: Coleridge is managing director of Conde Nast Magazines in London.