Picks and Pans Review: The Press Lord

updated 03/22/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/22/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

by James Brady

In this novel a publishing mogul, Campbell Haig, turns marginal newspapers into money-makers by filling them with scandals and hysterical headlines. He comes from the Southwest, and when he buys a fading New York paper from an old woman with a good granddaughter and an evil son, he makes all kinds of enemies. Then he marries the wild, beautiful daughter of the widow of a U.S. President. The author of this novel writes a page of gossip items for the New York Post, which is owned by Australian Rupert Murdoch, a sensationmonger not unlike Haig. The writing in this book—as it was in Brady's earlier novels—is flowery "New York! Like Venice a city floating on the sea. A city that had always and would always draw men like Haig, men from the West and the prairie and those dusty, square states beyond the Mississippi. Why did they come here when they knew it would, in the end, destroy them?" It is a curious truth that the closer a novelist gets to offering the reader thinly disguised "real" events and "real" people, the more he tends to destroy the illusion that fine fiction creates. (Delacorte, $14.95)

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