cover image Forever


Judith Gould. Dutton Books, $22 (464pp) ISBN 978-0-525-93495-0

The bestselling author of Never Too Rich here offers a sticky, implausible narrative blend of intrigue, SF and turgid romance, replete with heaving breasts and robust cliches. In 1950, famed diva and Nazi sympathizer Lili Schneider, supposedly burned fatally and beyond recognition in a fire, was buried in Berlin. But was the body really Lili's? When her biographer asks that question, he winds up hung from a chandelier. His niece, glamorous investigative reporter Stephanie Merlin, vows revenge and soon ``dies'' in a bomb blast meant to stop her probing. Resurrected in disguise, she whips through a full hand of fake passports while hunting the reclusive de Veigas, Brazilian multimillionaires who may know Lili's whereabouts. After ramming their high-security yacht with a motorboat, Stephanie catapults into the heart and bed of their son Eduardo de Veiga, a macho who never once asks about his new lover's past. The elder de Veigas, who seem to have drained the fountain of youth, keep a rabid ex-CIA man on a very loose leash; support an international charity for needy children, many of whom disappear forever; and report daily for mysterious transfusions to a doctor who did research under the Third Reich. Stilted dialogue and florid narrative touches drown the few sparks Gould manages to strike during a manhunt in the final chapters. (Dec.)