Part of the fun in reading a book by Jackie Collins is trying to figure out on whom her characters are based. I read some of her earlier books and found them ho-hum, but when Pocket sent me Power, I decided to give her another shot. There’s plenty of gore and violence in this 126-page book, and trying to determine whether the high-powered agent in his architecturally-distinct office was based on Michael Ovitz was kind of fun, but Pocket might want to re-think this “mini-series” idea. Although another publisher innovated the idea with Stephen King’s successful Green Miles series a couple of years ago, Pocket co-opted it for Julie Garwood and her Three Roses trilogy last year. Those, at least, were books nearly the length of a series romance, but a 126 page book? I’m skeptical, and not just of the length. While suspense novels require connections, many of those written in this book are too coincidental to be realistic.
The book opens with a prostitute being drowned in a pool by a disguised “chauffeur” for Mr. X, who masturbates over her head as he’s killing her. Next we are introduced to magazine journalist Madison Castelli, on a plane to La-La land to interview uber-agent to the stars Freddie Leon. She meets rude and obnoxious late-night talk-show host Bo Deacon and pneumatic sitcom star Salli T. Turner en route. She and Salli forge a relationship – Salli’s not as stupid as she looks (well, maybe she is, but she’s kinda nice).
Madison is picked up at the airport by her old college roommate, Black t.v. entertainment reporter Natalie De Barge. Madison is staying with Natalie and her gay brother, sports trainer Cole. Cole trains Freddie’s partner Max, and has promised Madison he’ll arrange an introduction – perhaps Max can help Madison wangle that interview she’s been promised with Freddie.
While these mundane occurrences are being attended to, we meet aging star Lucinda, who may or may not be based on Faye Dunaway, and Kristin, another prostitute who services Mr. X. Kristin came to Hollywood with her sister to make it in the movies, but her sister lies in a vegetative state in a convalescent home after a car accident. Kristin finances her sister’s care on her back, but meets nice guy Jake in a department store. They go for a date (she tells him she’s a make-up artist) and he invites her to a party his brother is giving.
Jake just so happens to be the brother of the news anchor Natalie works with, and on the same night as Freddie and his wife are giving a party, the news anchor invites Natalie and Madison to a party he and his wife are giving. Either before, during, or after these parties, Mr. X’s chauffeur makes another dangerous appearance, and the story ends.
There’s duplicity and Hollywood shenanigans run amuck in Power. Freddie has gotten wind that Max plans to jump ship. That news anchor may or may not be faithful to his wife Bunny, who is so nick-named for the rabbits which decorate their house. Who is Mr. X.? Are Mr. X and the chauffeur one and the same? Does someone have it in for hookers whose names start with the letter K?
While it’s doubtful anyone will care, by the end of this quartet, I’m sure we’ll all have answers to these critical questions. Author Collins has packed a lot into these 126 pages, and certainly grabs the reader by the throat. But if Madison is the protagonist, we are not given much to work with. She is but one person in a large cast of characters who are obviously going to be more and more involved as the series progresses. Stay tuned. . .or likely, not.