The great thing about a Krantz novel is that it translates, as you read it, into a TV mini-series. There's certainly a role for Barry Bostwick (Scruples, I'll Take Manhattan) in Casey Nelson, the more-than-kissin' cousin who sweeps real estate heiress-celebrity photographer Jazz Kilkullen off her feet. Jazz, who, as Krantz puts it, "could only be compared to a topaz." might be played by, say, Valerie Bertinelli.
Not that Casey is Jazz's only swain. There's the lout Aussie actor, who is as resistible in life as he is magnetic onscreen (Bryan Brown? Or can they afford Mel?), and the slimy photojournalist who dumped her in Paris on the eve of their wedding. (Can this girl pick 'em or what?) Overshadowing all is her magnificently macho dad—the rancher who fell for that smoldering Swedish screen star, the late Sylvie Nor-berg. Jazz's mom.
Despite the author's characteristic, well-timed sex scenes (all the better to lead into those commercial breaks), Jazz seems a peculiarly cool Krantz character. What really gets her going is the race to save the Kilkullens' 100-square-mile California coast cattle ranch after Dad is killed. The problem is. Jazz's evil half-sisters (one a frustrated Park Avenue socialite, one a nympho lesbian, perhaps to be played by the Landers sisters?), egged on by their mother (who is into some truly bizarre sex play with the Governor of California), want to sell to an '80s-style land-developer-pig.
Clearly, Krantz did not foresee that the '90s would come to be characterized by an epidemic lack of interest in real estate deals. She cannot be excused, however, for the number of words devoted to the Spanish Land Grant of 1788. Lucky for her that this is the kind of page turner where you can flip past whole sections and not miss a plot beat. (Crown. $21.95)