cover image DEADLY EMBRACE


Jackie Collins, . . Simon & Schuster, $26 (528pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-1648-7

The godmother of glam/vamp fiction returns with a campy prequel/sequel to Lethal Seduction, digging down and dirty to find the roots of celebrity journalist Madison Castelli's twisted family tree. Madison, first introduced in Collins's L.A. Connections series, plays a supporting role in this soapy sex-o-rama. This time, her father, Michael Castelli, a handsome "wiseguy" turned tycoon, takes center stage, along with his lover, stunning Las Vegas showgirl Dani Castle. Castelli has been accused of killing not one but two women: Beth, Madison's mother, and Stella, the woman Madison believed to be her mom. He is acquitted of the first murder with the help of his mob boss buddy, Vito Giovanni, aka Mr. G., who is unfortunately deceased by the time the second hit occurs. The nasty men responsible for framing Castelli are threatening to take out more of his loved ones if he doesn't cough up money Mr. G. promised them before he died. While Castelli knows that means they could harm not only Madison but Dani, mother of Madison's two step-siblings—Sofia, teen wild child now on the prowl in Europe, and Vincent, young Vegas hotel mogul—he also knows these crooks are responsible for the murder of his own mother, making retribution his ultimate goal. Throughout the readable if sometimes turgid saga, which skips from Michael and Dani's New York and Las Vegas pasts to the present-day ordeal of Madison held hostage at an upscale L.A. restaurant, the bombardment of amoral antics leaves the reader either reaching for an antacid or a very dry martini. Warning: the tongue-in-cheek/family-feel-good denouement cheerfully opens the door for another sequel. (June)

Forecast:Collins knows no limits—in salacious prose or sales. Expect Deadly Embrace to sizzle on bestseller lists this summer.