Picks and Pans Review: Eye Contact

updated 07/04/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/04/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Stephen Collins

Nick (short for Nicolelte, which is torn self a stage name for Susan), a beautiful young actress, flirts with a married man in a restaurant, dares him to meet her later at a posh Manhattan hotel and seduces him when he does. That beginning—along with the fact that its author is actor Stephen Collins—might give you the impression that this will be the celeb-writes-a-novel fare: long on glamor and sex, short on just about everything else.

But Eye Contact, while hardly a literary tour de force, is less predictable than it seems at first, thanks to an inventive plot and odd characters. The married man, for example, doesn't just go away quietly after his tryst with Nick; he turns up at her apartment the next day and commits suicide. Now suspected of murder, Nick seeks refuge with a tough-talking New Yorker and her limousine driver boyfriend, whom Nick just happened to meet while waiting to use a pay telephone.

One gets the impression Collins would like us to call all this "madcap," but "quirky" is about as good as it gets. (Less enchanting are the story's vaguely moralistic underpinnings—Nick is promiscuous and must therefore be punished—and Collins's writing-by-the-numbers style.) Still, as easy, fun and off-center reading, Eye Contact deserves a passing glance. (Bantam, $21.95)

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