September 09, 1996 12:00 PM

by Sandra Brown

The plot rings familiar: a charismatic young President, a troubled First Lady and a scandal that could rock the nation. But when Brown takes a turn at political fiction, she doesn’t do it anonymously. After all, with book sales of more than 40 million, the former romance novelist has proved she can land her books on the bestseller list simply by signing her name. What Brown doesn’t do, it seems, is spend much time researching the worlds she writes about, a flaw that is readily apparent in her latest effort.

Exclusive introduces TV reporter Barrie Travis, who stumbles onto the story of a lifetime when the First Lady invites her to lunch and tearfully hints that her deceased child may have been the victim of something other than Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Never mind that First Ladies don’t generally invite reporters from second-rate local TV stations to lunch. Or that station executives aren’t likely to let even their best reporter hop a plane across the country in pursuit of a story they know nothing about. Brown isn’t one to let the facts get in the way of a good story.

With the help of well-muscled ex-Marine and former presidential aide Gray Bondurant, Travis digs up leads, dodges bullets and, naturally, falls in love. Brown writes a plot-wise, entertaining yarn, but if she really wants to move into the pop ranks of writers like Grisham and Cornwell, she should do her homework. (Warner, $22.95)

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