South Beach, Not Hamptons
Former New York Observer columnist Michael M. Thomas does Miami.
At some point Thomas absented himself from the pages of the Observer, but along the way he has written eight novels, including his new tome, Love & Money (Melville House). Having attended Yale, curated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and joined his father on Wall Street at Lehman Brothers, Thomas (Hanover Place) is apparently comfortable with the golden life of designer labels, high-end watering holes and destinations, and the machinations of the wealthy and powerful.
In Love & Money, we are presented with a wholesome Martha Stewart/Oprah-esque media star who comes under the sway of a paramour referred to as Donkey Dong (you can guess the point of that), a dalliance that jeopardizes the escalating value of her brand and the ambitions (financial and philanthropic) of her corporate patron and sponsor. The adulteress’s film director husband, whose last project tanked (for which he believe he’s been blacklisted by a vulgarian media mogul) discovers the adulteryas does another mysterious partyand in the midst of this, Señor Donkey Dong is murdered in Miami. Hubby then consults a divorce lawyer nicknamed the Jackal, and this spins into the meat and potatoes of this novel, a good deal of which is devoted to bringing the issue of no-fault divorce before the Supreme Court.
Thomas obviously well researched the laws and high court protocols, and he presents the case dramatically and with as much compulsion as can be mustered by the rarefied matters to which the Supremes attend. Love & Money is certainly entertaining (though I found the few sex scenes leaden), but I feel compelled to take great exception to one character’s claim (no doubt mouthing Thomas’s view) that crime story writer Laurence Shames does Miami crazy better than Carl Hiaasen.