cover image Fame's Peril

Fame's Peril

Martha Smilgis, Martha Smiligis. Pocket Books, $19 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-72818-2

Written by an insider (Smilgis is a show business correspondent for Time ), this first novel trenchantly details life in the fast lane and the dangers of fame. While big-time film director Robert Shay is off in the jungles of Thailand shooting a new movie and his wife is in New York City starring in a Broadway play, their adored three-year-old son, Doni, is abducted from their East Hampton house. The aftermath of the kidnapping brings together a varied cast. Driven but naive Ceci McCann, working for a popular tabloid TV news show, competes for leads with Jack Werts, an ace entertainment-magazine reporter whose journalistic idealism has faded into bitter disillusionment. The rigid FBI man on the case battles with Robert Shay's obsequious publicity agent for control of the investigation; various scam artists try to make money off the drama; and a slimy, aging tabloid TV host and his network boss hope to tally up high ratings. Though the roster of characters is sometimes overwhelming, this intriguing, readable tale of showbiz journalism and Hollywood power games rings true. (May)