Lady Boss is a Jackie Collins novel about people you wouldn’t want to know doing things you’d rather not know about.
Don’t let the word lady in the title fool you. Lucky Santangelo, the novel’s main character, is no lady. She is a multimillionaire, a control freak, and, as many other characters observe, a bitch.
The story is this: Lucky’s husband is an actor under contract to Panther Studios. Lennie hates the scumbags who run the studio. Lucky’s solution is to buy the studio as a surprise for Lennie.
Then she goes undercover at the studio to find out what’s really going on there, disappearing for a month without telling Lennie even how to get in touch with her.
Lucky is appalled by the studio’s treatment of women as objects. Most of the studio’s income is from porn films that it ships abroad hidden among legitimate films. When she takes over, she’ll change everything.
When Lucky tells Lennie she bought the studio, Lennie feels insulted that his wife thinks he needs rescuing. That surprises Lucky.
Collins has the gall to say, “Ego was not [Lucky’s] thing.”
Hollywood Husbands is a Jackie Collins novel, which means it’s about sex among the rich, powerful, and glamorous.
Here the setting is the entertainment industry.
The Hollywood husbands are two currently married jerks and one divorced jerk-in-rehab.
The two currently married jerks, once-divorced actor Mannon Cable and three-times-divorced film studio head Howard Solomon, haven’t a brain between them.
The only one of the three husbands who seems to have an ounce of sense is Jack Python, host of a top-rated television interview show.
Divorced once, Jack is in a sexual relationship with an Oscar-winning actress who he’d just as soon drop.
When model Jade Johnson, who is supposedly as smart as she is beautiful, comes to Hollywood to pose for a TV commercial, she gets sucked into the cesspool in which the husbands, wives, and their exes swim.
Collins doesn’t try to make any of three husbands interesting.
Instead, Collins focuses on daytime soaps megastar Silver Anderson’s marriage to an ex-bartender. Poor Wes had the misfortune to walk off with a gun and thousands of dollars belonging to the mob.
Hollywood Husbands serves up more than you want to know about people you wouldn’t want to know at all.
If you took all the synopses from one issue of TV Guide, mixed them up, randomly drew 100 of them and merged them into a single narrative, you’d end up with something like Jackie Collins’ Lucky.
The dust jacket notes for Lucky select the most positive points made in a New York Times review of the novel. The review cited the novel’s “frenetic” pace, its constantly shifting setting, and concluded that in Lucky, “Miss Collins is at her raunchy best.”
Frenetic, disjointed, and raunchy are not positive characteristics, no matter what a publicist thinks.
Lucky’s plot is absurd, its characters amoral. There aren’t more than three characters in the entire book that a moderately intelligent person would hire to collect the trash.
The best part of the novel was the back cover of the library copy of Lucky that I read. It is a photo of Collins, all in black, against an ominous, gray-swirled background. Collins has wild hair and black-shadowed eyes, each of which appears to be looking in a different direction.
A previous reader had incised a handlebar mustache into the novel’s plastic protector.
The effect was highly amusing.
When a defaced photograph is a novel’s highlight, the book’s not worth reading.
Lucky by Jackie Collins
Simon and Schuster. 1985. 508 p.
1985 bestseller #8; my grade: D-