Lethal Seduction
by Jackie Collins, contemporary (2001)
Pocket, $7.99, ISBN 0-671-02096-X


Does Jackie Collins still have any relevance in the 21st century pop lit scene? Her selling points have always been sex and drugs and the Hollywood scene. But let's face it, with today's news coverage (tabloid as well as CNN) and the free-for-all libel that is the Internet, there's nothing she writes that can actually shock or embarrass this granny. Unless she wants to write about those dobermanns and ponies, but I think she wouldn't go that low.

Heck, I've read worse/more fun in my weekly free e-zine which tells me in all the gory details the love lives, beauty secrets, drug lives, and the gory details in and out of celebrities' closets. Do you know that at the time of writing placenta tissue implant is the latest beauty craze in Hollywood? And that a certain Shakespeare Barbie is supposed to enjoy a rather kinky form of boinking with her ex and now happily-married (I think) pretty boy actor? Or that a certain UK DJ have this thing for young boys where he will... never mind.

Lethal Seduction's brand of outdoor, exhibitionist sex seems so 1970 by comparison. In fact, if I weren't bored and stuck in between delayed flight transfers, I wouldn't even be reading this book. Apparently bored plane passengers are making up the bulk of Ms Collins' readership nowadays (I hear that from someone, so don't sue me).

Like all books Jackie Collins, this story tells the lives of several people. The good people are so boring they stick to missionary positions, while the bad ones indulge in the sole adventurous sex - free shows for the public sort of sexing. Everyone's lives finally meet and clash in Las Vegas, which gives Ms Collins a chance to write an acerbic epilogue (best part of this story, by the way) detailing the ups and downfalls of the characters in the story.

There's the whiny, dull Madison Castelli who whines and whines when she realizes that her daddy isn't whom he seems. Her best friend Jamie whines too when she thinks her handsome hubby Peter is cheating on her. The obligatory sassy third girlfriend Natalie makes a brief appearance to chew scenery. On the XY chromosomes front, pretty beefcake and talent-free actor Dick Cockranger - I am not making this name up! - AKA Derek Falcon is puncturing his wife Rosarita's diaphragm, hoping that he impregnating her will save their marriage. Rosarita, on the hand, schemes to marry Joel Blaine... after she gets someone to kill Derek.

Joel is the useless playboy son of aging billionaire Leon Blaine. Joel spends his 9 to 5 in his office with his pants off and his hands wrapped around his Mr Wonky. Again, I am not making this up. Joel needs to enlist supermodel Carrie Hanlon to win his father over, and he does this by plying Carrie with her addiction: underaged boys. The underaged boy thing, alas, never takes place. A pity. A Jackie Collins novel that adheres to Catholic tenets is definitely not a good one. Anyway, and Leon is taken with Carrie, much to his mistress and scheming Mrs Blaine-wannabe Marika's disgust.

Where was I? Oh yes, more characters. Madison whines because this guy Jake Sica plays her hot (in bed) and cold (out if it). A stripper named Varoomba (no joke) is trying to get Chas, Rosarita's father, to marry her

That's it, really, for the non-existent plot. Secrets, sex scandals, horny old men groping silicon valleys of too-young girls - how dull. It is a sad, sad day to realize that this author's brand of entertainment isn't aging well. While she doesn't bother to pack a plot, the least she could do is to up the ante on the skanky, taboo sex department. In Lethal Seduction, however, Madison and Jamie and Derek, the good ones, keep whining about how disgusting promiscuity is and how they want to be Faithful and Sure. Has Jackie Collins found religion? Just checking, because for a while I do wonder.

Lethal Seduction is lethal only in the acute boredom it causes in me. Let's face it, this "hot, shocking" novel is shocking only in how tame and dated it is. I can certainly find more outrageous tales on the 'Net or in a tabloid. I can even get to see the main character's naked body with those lil' boxes at the right places in print or without those boxes online. And with such a weak watery plot, there's little else Lethal Seduction can offer in the name of entertainment.

It's like listening to old men bragging about their sexual exploits. All 90% smelly stuff from bull's behind and 100% embarrassing on the author's behalf. It must be tough being a dinosaur.

Rating: 32


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