Bruce Fretts
September 12, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Death By Hollywood

Current Status
In Season
Steven Bochco
Fiction, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a D

The TV titan finally gets a chance to use all those dirty words ABC won’t allow on ”NYPD Blue” — and boy, does he make the least of it. Bochco’s relentlessly vulgar first novel wants to be the literary equivalent of ”The Player:” A screenwriter neglects to report a murder he witnesses just so he can develop the story into a script. But with its pedestrian bedroom scenes and casual sexism, ”Death” feels more like a Jackie Collins potboiler rewritten by the editors of Maxim. Throw in moldy jokes and show-biz cliches (agents are ”well-paid pimps”; actors and writers are ”big self-centered spoiled-rotten babies”), and you’ve got Bochco’s deadliest bomb since ”Cop Rock.”

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