Picks and Pans Review: Dirt
Page-Turner of the Week
IT'S TOUGH TO FEEL TOO SORRY FOR Amanda Dart and Allan Peebles. After all, there's something peculiarly satisfying about the spectacle of a pair of extravagantly paid gossip columnists suddenly squirming because a scandal sheet baring their own secrets—including Amanda's tryst with a married real estate developer in a posh Manhattan hotel and Allan's poolside romp with the well-endowed pizza delivery boy—is being faxed to the most exclusive numbers in New York City and Los Angeles. However, the game suddenly doesn't seem quite so amusing when the malice starts spilling off the page and threatening the lives of several civilians, including Stone Barrington, the upstanding ex-cop turned attorney Amanda and her boss hire to discreetly investigate.
The devious plot that develops, deftly skewering society types, would be enough to hook most of us. But veteran thriller writer Woods (this is his 15th) shrewdly stacks the deck further by bringing back Barrington, the immensely likable star of his New York Dead, published in 1991. The result makes for a lost weekend's worth of dirty fun—the kind you would want your friends to find out about. (HarperCollins, $24)