Picks and Pans Review: Manhattan

updated 04/02/1979 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/02/1979 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Neal Travis

If this book is based on real people and real events, why does it read like a pastiche of every cliché in today's trendy novels? One reason may be that Travis used to edit gossip columns for Rupert Murdoch, the Australian publishing lord who owns the New York Post and New York magazine. Travis' version of what goes on in the media features characters who are utterly without redeeming qualities, cartoon-like pigs rooting in the muck for scandalous stories, power, money, sex and drugs. Where do these activities take place? Studio 54, sex clubs and other ho-hum places no novelist seems able to avoid these days. There's some interest among New Yorkers in identifying the characters, but it's hardly worth the effort. (Crown, $ 10)

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