June 08, 1992 12:00 PM

by Susan Crosland

A well-connected and respected London-based journalist and widow of a British Foreign Secretary, Crosland has been described as “the thinking reader’s Jackie Collins.” To get through Dangerous Games, the thinking reader must not think too much.

A political thriller, Dangerous Games has an obvious plot and is staffed with characters who are self-important or self-deluded. Georgie Chase and Hugo Carroll are the paradigmatic American power couple. She’s the glamorous editor of a weekly newsmagazine; he’s a charismatic, highly decorated newspaper columnist. Their lives are thrown into disarray by a stubby-fingered lobbyist and his beautiful assistant. Georgie becomes intrigued with the lobbyist; Hugo becomes infatuated with the ambitious assistant, who spreads her charms to England and the in-trouble-with-the-IRA cabinet minister husband of Georgie’s best friend.

Crosland knows how the corridors of power are decorated. But such insider knowledge does nothing to strip the book of its by-the-numbers quality. The writing ranges from the offensive (a room is “large enough to house a-dozen ghetto families”) to the banal: “He had to exorcise the brute ugliness that had burst from his core on Saturday night.” Jackie Collins, come home. All is forgiven. (Random House, $20)

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