Picks and Pans Review: Fantasies

updated 03/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Beverly Sassoon

In her first novel, "celebrated beauty and fashion expert" (as the press release has it) Sassoon makes like a cross between Hemingway and Judith Krantz. From Hemingway she takes a setting filled with beautiful, bored rich people and bullfighters; from Krantz she takes beautiful, bored rich people and sex. Call this cross-pollination The Scum Also Rises.

If Sassoon set out to write a trash novel, she succeeded. The plot, as she helpfully sums it up on page 6, is "how the world's most famous model, married to one of the world's richest men, had run off with Mexico's most famous bullfighter." But Sloane Bromley, the world's most famous model, only runs off with the sadistic bullfighter because she needs to be abused. After much sex and alcohol, she sees the error of her ways. But before Sloane hits this epiphany, Sassoon has served up all the genre's obligatory elements: luxe settings, beyond-missionary-position sex, brand names, breathless writing.

Krantz's crown as Queen of the BB's (Bad Books) remains secure. Sassoon gets points, however, for giving one of her characters a TV talk show called Hot!—"The point of the show was that guests were invited only if they disliked a well-known person and were willing to say why on national television." Sounds worth watching. (Pocket Books, $18.95)

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