By Charles Winecoff
Updated June 25, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

It’s hard to believe that the screenwriter of such testosterone-pumping flicks as Die Hard 2 and Money Train could have written True Believers, a stale pastiche of a thriller. Mixing elements of Rosemary’s Baby, Helter Skelter, and Frantic, Richardson’s paint-by-numbers plot deals with a vice presidential candidate whose pregnant wife gets kidnapped by a cult of New Age nutjobs. Even Washington sex scandals fail to lend the novel the reality it so desperately needs. D