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Publisher's Summary

The last two years have been monstrously unpleasant for high-society journalist Gus Bailey. His propensity for gossip has finally gotten him into trouble - $11 million worth. His problems begin when he falls hook, line, and sinker for a fake story from an unreliable source and repeats it on a radio program.

As a result of his flip comments, Gus becomes embroiled in a nasty slander suit brought by Kyle Cramden, the powerful congressman he accuses of being involved in the mysterious disappearance of a young woman, and he fears it could mean the end of him.

The stress of the lawsuit makes it difficult for Gus to focus on the novel he has been contracted to write, which is based on the suspicious death of billionaire Konstantin Zacharias. It is a story that has dominated the party conversations of Manhattan's chattering classes for more than two years. The convicted murderer is behind bars, but Gus is not convinced that justice was served. There are too many unanswered questions, such as why a paranoid man who was usually accompanied by bodyguards was without protection the very night he perished in a tragic fire.

Konstantin's hot-tempered widow, Perla, is obsessed with climbing the social ladder and, as a result, she will do anything to suppress this potentially damaging story. Gus is convinced she is the only thing standing between him and the truth.

©2009 Dominick Dunne; (P)2009 Random House

Critic Reviews

"The only person writing about high society from inside the aquarium." (Tina Brown)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Ben
  • Lakewood, CA, USA
  • 05-12-10

First by Dunne, I like it

I haven't read anything by Dunne before, but I found this book to be very interesting and well written. I found the constant use of repetitive language a bit annoying, but the story was fantastic.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Wasted a credit on this!

Briefly, not worth the time to download it - writing, dialogue trite and boring. Dunne should have hit the delete button on this one; I couldn't even finish the first half.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Could Have Used a Final Polish

This was published posthumously and really could have used a good final polish.

Bits of information are repeated over and over, but the worst is that every character refers to a particular person as "the male nurse." Even a female nurse refers to him as a "male nurse," which just wouldn't happen in life.

The appeal of Dunne's writing is often recognizing the real life people and events he's fictionalizing, but this isn't the best of Dunne's work by a long shot. It might have been if he wasn't aged and in failing health and rushing to finish it before he died.

The story's more memorable simply for the feel of it and all the little details about the lives of the ultra rich Dunne sprinkles throughout, rather than the overall narrative.

The story's unmemorable and there's not a single really compelling character, so overall this is a mediocre effort in the end. You can easily skip it without having lost anything from your life.