Megan Harlan
July 12, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Vipers' Club

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
John H. Richardson
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B+

Though resemblances to The Player abound in this deft, Hollywood-exposing debut, John H. Richardson — a former senior writer at Premiere magazine — has a less subversive perspective than Michael Tolkin. When striving young Peter James leaves film-crit academe to become assistant to Max Fischer, the successful mogul producer of trashy action movies, he soon resents his role as ”a flunky, a peon” to a man he both despises and emulates. Richardson is almost too skillful rendering Max, whose constant hollering and spewing can give even the reader a headache. But his lucid, canny prose makes The Vipers’ Club less a skewering of Hollywood’s stereotypical cutthroat, survival-of-the-slimiest mentality than a sometimes disarmingly nuanced explanation of it. B+

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