Picks and Pans Review: Turnaround

updated 07/13/1981 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/13/1981 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Don Carpenter

In his sixth novel, Carpenter, a onetime writer for TV's Then Came Bronson and The High Chaparral, has crafted a thinking person's Scruples, filled with the raw ambition, devious machinations and abundant drugs and sex that are staples of Tinseltown fiction. The title is taken from Hollywood's euphemism for an unraveled deal. Involved in this particular turnaround is a nice assortment of gamy characters. There is a young scriptwriting hopeful who spends his days churning out copy for Pet Care Hotline while slaving on his first screenplay at night. He sells his script to a director whose first picture has elevated him overnight to wunderkind status. Every man in town lusts after the director's paramour, a would-be actress who shares his dreams, Malibu beach house and coke stash. The book's principal cutter of deals is a self-made mogul who can't restrain himself from a humiliating passion for a wealthy, ruthless woman producer, whose secret vice is nymphomania. Not to damn it with faint praise, but Turnaround has to be the best beach book of the season. (Simon and Schuster, $13.95)

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