Read one of Danielle Steel's deceptively breezy romantic thrillers and you might be tempted to think anyone could write these things. Truth is, anyone can't.
In her third novel, Victoria Gotti (The Senator's Daughter, I'll Be Watching You) makes a fair attempt at mining Steel. Set in Hollywood, the story centers on two babies, both girls, mysteriously switched at birth.
One, Cassidy Turmaine, grows up with wealth and fame, the adored daughter of a successful film producer and his glamorous movie star wife. The other, Chelsea Hutton, shares a dingy East L.A. apartment with her unmarried mom. When Cassidy and Chelsea cross paths as adults, old secrets are bared and both women must come to terms with their true identities.
The story has all the elements of a satisfying thriller, and Gotti, the daughter of Mob godfather John Gotti, isn't a bad writer. But cheesy character development and heavy-handed prose make this Star flame out early, (Crown, $25)