Confession time: I used to have a crush on film critic Rex Reed. There I said it. It was around the time he was hanging out with superstar Jacqueline Susann, and you know how I feel about her. I was still very young then but I remember seeing pics of them and I couldn’t help finding him attractive. This was around the early ‘70s, I believe. You could say he was one of the very first people outside my periphery that spoke to me as a future gay man. And growing up I kept up-to-date with his busy career, from his gig on MYRA BECKENRIDGE (another Sleaze Factor contender) to his stint as a movie reviewer on TV, finally to his quick dab in commercial fiction.
Since he’s always been a devoted fan of glitzy page-turners (just check out his ton of blurbs left on covers) it was only natural that he would end up penning one of his own. PERSONAL EFFECTS (1987, Charter) is its name and it is the riveting tale of four fans who befriend a legendary movie star with a past. When one of them is involved in her cold-blooded murder, it’s up to a Hollywood columnist and narrator to this story to solve the case. Throughout many torrid flashbacks and bitchy goings-on, Reed delivers an eye-popping tale of old Hollywood that could rival any one of Susann’s books. There's never a dull moment. From love to jealously to, of course, murder, the author's uncanny flair for creating addictive escapism shines through and through.
Ok I admit, perhaps I’m a little bit too soft on this title. It has been a while since I even glanced at that cover. But what I remember most about PERSONAL EFFECTS is how much fun I had with it. The author’s colorful characters plus his clever way of building up an explosive climax sure made and probably still makes PERSONAL EFFECTS a one sitting read. Another Rex Reed novel is way past due, in my opinion.
This title has yet to go digital. Check out any used book store for a copy.