March 26, 1979 12:00 PM

by Ron Rosenbaum

Farfetched and clumsily executed, this spoofy thriller relies more heavily on its commercial elements—sex, drugs, gossip, politics and the power-mad media—than on murder mystery basics. At times tongue-in-chic, the thinly woven plot threads together Ted Kennedy, Richard Nixon, the CIA, Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, a corpse (who could only have been Esquire publisher Clay Felker) and other glitterati as seen through the opium-glazed eyes of a gonzo journalist, a Hunter Thompson act-alike. The real-life Elaine’s is a Manhattan restaurant that has gained notice as a place where celebrities go to confirm each other’s celebrityhood. Rosenbaum has based his first novel on the premise that many would kill for a table there, and his book compensates with humor and bitchiness for what it lacks in suspense and credibility. (Stonehill, $7.95)

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