cover image Genuine Lies

Genuine Lies

Nora Roberts. Bantam Books, $7.99 (528pp) ISBN 978-0-553-29078-3

Though the opening scene of this book refers to a murder, that deed only occurs 100 pages from the end of the story, when Roberts's ( Public Secrets ) disappointing tale finally heats up. Until then, the reader is dragged through the sordid secrets of a dreary collection of friends, lovers, employees and ex-husbands of 67-year-old film star Eve Benedict. She has hired Julia Summers to write an authorized biography, an expose of Hollywood life guaranteed to irk most of her past associates. And soon an aggressor swings into action: Eve and Julia receive threatening notes; Julia's rooms are broken into twice; finally, Eve is silenced permanently. So whodunit? The suspects are legion: Eve's nephew and agent, Drake Morrison, now fired and disinherited; former lover Michael Delrickio, whose mob connections Eve planned to reveal; actress Gloria DuBarry, a symbol of morality--provided no one learns of her affair and abortion. Or maybe it was Eva's devoted supporters Nina Soloman and Dorothy Travers, who are more than just staff. Or Eve's stepson, mystery writer Paul Winthrop, who has a marked interest in Julia. Or, as the police think, Julia herself. (Sept.)