Picks and Pans Review: Sacred Monster

updated 11/06/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/06/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Donald E. Westlake

Donald Westlake has been writing novels for more than 30 years. The best of them involve the comic crime capers of the inept but determined Dortmunder gang The Hot Rock) and the brutal exploits of a gun-for-hire named Parker (Point Blank).

Recently, however, Westlake has focused on stories and situations hardly worth a nod of his talent. The dreadful Sacred Monster, following the equally dreadful Trust Me on This (a spoof about supermarket tabloids), is the latest example of this creative detour.

Sacred Monster trusts us into the shaky hands of Jack Pine, an alcoholic movie star, who uses an interview as a launch pad into his clouded, scandalous, yet totally uninteresting past. The litany of bed-hopping, drug orgies, enemies embraced for the price of fame has been better told in at least 100 other novels. Pine is too lightweight to hold the narrative of a full-length novel.

Westlake sets out to portray Hollywood as the viper's nest. To say he has failed miserably would be polite understatement. (Mysterious Press, $17.95)

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