Too Much Money
Ballantine, Sep 28 2010, $15.00
Park Avenue magazine gossip columnist Augustus “Gus” Bailey knows better than to open one’s mouth on an unfinished story, but he does on the radio. Gus accuses Congressman Kyle Cramden in the disappearance of his intern. Outraged, Cramden sues Gus for slandering him and demands $11 million.
An octogenarian, Gus fears his big mouth will leave his family with nothing when he dies. He turns to his other occupation, a novelist writing Infamous Lady based on a real homicide. While someone has been convicted of murdering wealthy banker Konstantin Zacharias who suffered from ALS in an arson fire at his Biarritz home, his beautiful widow Perla was never considered a person of interest by the cops. Gus’ inquiry bothers Perla who inherited a fortune so has become too big to fail at annihilating others. Rather than litigation, Perla uses amoral tactics to destroy Gus.
The fascination in this entertaining novel is Dominick Dunn’s lampooning his other vocation as a gossip crime columnist having no real meaning especially when defending your life at the heavenly weighing station (kudos to Albert Brooks). Although the exaggerated portrayals of the key characters are over the top of the Empire State Building and adversely impact the extremely thin plot, fans of the late author’s column will enjoy the hyperbole as Mr. Dunne skewers the rich and famous.