The Secret (Harold Robbins)

The Secret - Harold Robbins

Ick. Just ick. I rarely regret my obsessive need to finish any book I start, but I was regretting all the way through this. No plot to speak of, just a succession of short bald chapters wherein the equally unpleasant father and son co-protagonists either advanced in their worldly wealth, or interacted with some poor woman entirely defined by her physical self. (There are many women in this decades-long story, and not a one of them has any agency except through her sexuality). Robbins describes the kinky lingerie and sex toys which are the firm's principal goods with what I can only describe as a heterosexual male snigger. But there weren't any good sex scenes, either. And oh, the explaining (and the mansplaining!) - insulting to the reader. Really, the dim sum was not important enough in the narrative to stop and give a definition. And of course we couldn't be expected to remember characters from previous chapters, so we had to get not just the name but the entire context in which they had been introduced all over again.

I looked for some sort of emotional resolution, but the "secret" of the title (at least what I assume to be the most important of the secrets) just fell flat for me. I didn't care enough about the primary character to care that one of his long-term associates in crime had actually carried out the mob hit on his parents.

Pah. That's too much of my time spent on a bad book. Since it was a posthumous publication, I would be happy to learn it was a Frankenstein put together by the estate and not representative of this author's apparently wildly popular work.