cover image The Best Laid Plans

The Best Laid Plans

Sidney Sheldon. William Morrow & Co Inc, $25 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-688-14911-6

Washington politics, a jilted woman's revenge and the war in Bosnia plague an idealistic but lecherous president in Sheldon's latest tale of beautiful people, money and deception. On his way up the ladder of success, Oliver Russell breaks his engagement to Leslie Stewart, a stylish, intelligent public relations executive who knows how to nurture a grudge. Leslie marries a rich old man, turns her husband's fortune into a news empire, waits to go after Oliver until he occupies the White House and then hits him with every scandal-ridden headline she can muster. Sheldon (Morning, Noon, and Night, etc.) peoples his story with familiar yet colorful supporting characters: the old-style back-room politician, the go-getter young journalist, the self-serving spin-doctor. The plot twists will fool very few readers, yet they manage to keep the pages turning, while scenes like the first encounter between the journalist and the Bosnian orphan boy she takes into her care are touching despite their unoriginality. In short, Sheldon once again proves himself the master of the made-for-TV novel. The vindictive heroine, a cross between Katharine Graham and Farrah Fawcett, provides the one special element that sets this work apart from other easily read and easily forgotten fiction by this eternally bestselling writer. Foreign rights sold in the U.K., Germany, Holland, Sweden, Brazil, Finland and Israel; world Spanish rights: Emece; Literary Guild selection. (Oct.)