Picks and Pans Review: Infamous
We may never get to read A Ruling Passion, the infamous Joan Collins "novel" deemed incomplete and unreadable by her publisher Random House, which sued unsuccessfully to retrieve its advance and reduced her to tears in court. But thanks to the thoughtful people at Dutton, we can read this finished Collins novel, rushed into stores no doubt to capitalize on the high drama of the Random House affair. So cut to the chase: Can the woman write or not?
Well, she's no John Grisham, but Infamous looks, feels and reads like a real novel. Of course, just as putting her name on a line of clothes wouldn't make Collins a designer, putting her name on trashy novels (this is her third) doesn't make her a writer (she admitted in court that she relies heavily on patient editors).
This Hollywood sizzler, which chronicles a doomed affair between a troubled TV star (on a Dynasty-like soap called The Skeffingtons) and a dashing mystery man named Jean-Claude, meets the standards of the genre—there's enough overheated prose and silly plot twists to satisfy anyone who doesn't snicker at subtitles like A Novel of Betrayal.
Okay, so Collins might not be in the same league as established trash queens like her sister Jackie, but Infamous, a perfectly coherent if overripe showbiz saga, proves that Joan is fully capable of turning out readable junk. Case closed. (Dutton, $23.95)