September 09, 1996 12:00 PM

by Lindsay Maracotta

Beach Book of the Week

LIKE ALMOST EVERYONE IN HOLLYWOOD, animator Lucy Freers wants to make a name for herself—but not as the neighbor who discovers the perfectly liposuctioned corpse of starlet turned trophy wife Julia Prentice. At the start of this delightfully sharp-clawed page-turner, about the only thing the feisty Freers likes less is the label the police pin on her and her producer hubby, Kit: prime suspects.

While Kit blithely begins scouting locations for the movie he hopes will restore his reputation after two huge flops, Lucy undertakes some sleuthing to salvage her own. What she swiftly discovers is that Hollywood’s trendy designer domesticity—adoptions of waifs trumpeted on ET, superstar moms carpooling in their Range Rovers—merely throws a Martha Stewart apron over canyons of kinky sex, blackmail and assorted skulduggeries.

The dirt her hero digs up gives Maracotta, author of four previous novels, ample ammunition for spoofing the celebrity goofiness she has come to know during a decade as a Los Angeles screenwriter and television producer. This dishy, suspenseful read is as delicious as eavesdropping at Drai’s—without the Schwarzenegger-size tab. (Morrow, $24)

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