Few can beat Krantz for pure energy. The author of bestsellers Scruples and Princess Daisy has penned another splashy romp through the lives of the rich and the slightly-less-rich, using Manhattan for a glittering backdrop. As the shareholders of Amberville Publications can attest, a family tree wouldn't be complete without twisted branches. The magazine empire of the late Zachary Amberville is being pulled to pieces by his envious younger brother, Cutter, whose first official act after marrying his sister-in-law is to ax four periodicals. Within a year, he expects to sell those remaining at a huge profit. But Cutter hasn't reckoned on his feisty niece, Maxi, who, at 29, has been a mother once, a divorcee three times, and a spendthrift all her life. Sailing into battle with aid from her brother Justin, a photographer with a past of his own, and her macho first husband, Rocco, Maxi turns a dying magazine into a wild success. Light sparring between the formerly-marrieds keeps the book humming along, although the scuffle with Cutter is abruptly dropped when the extent of his duplicity becomes known. Weak subplots are easily glossed over by punchy dialogue and an amusing, likable cast. 300,000 first printing; $300,000 ad/promo; first serial to Cosmopolitan; author tour. (May 15)
Krantz's throng of fans won't be disappointed in Maxi Amberville, another sensational heroine in another TV-miniseries-to-be-novel. Beautiful, thrice-married Maxi is independently wealthy, and flamboyantly carefree until she locks horns with her vile uncle over a matter of family honor. He would close down several unprofitable magazines in her late father's publishing empire, but she insists on trying to rescue the sentimental underdog. Her transformation scheme is a delight. Power struggles, steamy sex, high finance, and scandal in the Big Apple provide a fascinating cast of characters with a fast-paced story line that will keep readers turning pages late into the night. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selection. Will Hepfer, SUNY at Buffalo Libs.