By People Staff
August 12, 2002 12:00 PM

By E. Lynn Harris

Okay, Harris fans, keep up: Back for Harris’s eighth novel is that fine, bisexual, ex-jock-turned-sports-agent John Basil Henderson, as well as the diva he dumped at the altar, Yancey Braxton. Openly gay lawyer Raymond Winston Tyler Jr. also returns (sharing Love‘s narrating duties with magazine editor Zola Denise Norwood). True to form, Harris keeps the sex, scandal and drama churning, but here, too, are references to such somber events as pop star Aaliyah’s plane crash and the events of Sept. 11.

The result is an earnest, disjointed story with great Manhattan props but poor staging. Harris nails the settings (Le Bernardin for a business lunch, the Shark Bar for a late drink) and he drops Ivy League credentials for effect (Columbia Law and Harvard Business School), but the central plot, a libel suit against Zola’s magazine, doesn’t kick in until the middle of the book. Instead the story jumps haphazardly among characters’ troubled relationships and individual crises: Raymond is betrayed by his lover; Basil discovers he has a child; Zola learns ambition isn’t everything.

Like Harris’s earlier novels, A Love of My Own is an entertaining confection. This time it’s like cotton candy: sweet and addictive but also a bit messy. (Doubleday, $24.95)

Bottom Line: Love‘s labors lost and found