Gene Lyons
March 21, 1997 AT 05:00 AM EST

At first glance, the book- publishing world may seem an unlikely venue for a thriller. At second glance, however, Martini seems to have found the ideal way to exact revenge upon every venal agent, two-faced editor, incompetent publicist, and book-reviewing hack he’s encountered during his career: Satirize them in The List, a slick tale that reveals all the dirty little secrets of the business. Seattle author Abby Chandlis is a three-time loser in the literary game. Her previous novels got fine reviews, zero publicity, and no help from her publisher. If she ever expects to make a dime, she’s going to have to do something different. So she comes up with a can’t-miss page-turner and hires an impostor — a craggy hunk with a gift for TV talk-show banter — to pretend he wrote it. Gable Cooper, she calls him. But there’s a problem: No sooner do the seven-figure checks begin to roll in than somebody starts killing off everybody who knows the truth. Could Gable Cooper be Chandlis’ own Frankenstein? We would never tell.

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