A Brand New Thriller From Dick Wolf -- Yes That Dick Wolf, the Law & Order Creator

"Joe Biden's horoscope on January 21 was especially strong (better than the president's). Watch for the vice president playing a much greater role during Obama's second term and coming to the fore to revamp the budget and economic policies across the board," writes the astrologist Shelley Ackerman in her view of the stars on The Aesthete.

Law & Order has been one of my TV favorites for years, harking back to the original cast in 1990.

I was especially taken by the long career there of actor Jerry Orbach, because I'd known him since he first played the character El Gallo in the legendary off-B'way play The Fantasticks. (This became the historic longest-running show ever and it had been dreamed up by my classmates at the University of Texas -- Tom Jones, Harvey Schmidt and the late Word Baker.)

You can still turn on television and almost always run across a version of Law & Order and if you're like me, usually you'll stick with it again to the end. Even though I have hosts of actor friends who have worked on this show, I don't know the Emmy-winning creator, Dick Wolf, but I feel somehow that I do. He is an omnipresent part of most TV viewer's lives.

Leading cast members have changed over the years but there is always someone or several "someones" who are first-rate actors, playing their roles with great plots, spin-offs, and fabulous reality even in small parts. (It is almost a game to see who the casting directors have chosen for the prime part of the judge in each case, whether it be writer Fran Lebowitz or Jane Alexander. These "small" parts are usually priceless.)

When I saw that Mr. Wolf had written a first novel titled The Intercept, naturally I skipped the reviews for fear of plot contamination. But last weekend I rushed and bought a copy from Shakespeare & Company just minutes before boarding a plane to Florida.

I did see that Mr. Wolf had lured the cream of thriller writers for his book jacket recommendations -- Harlan Coben, Lee Child, Nelson DeMille, Lisa Gardner, Brad Thor, Michael Connelly.

Mr. Wolf has become a slightly controversial figure in the rigors of TV creativity. Actors can be rabid about how they have been treated. But he proves here he can sit down alone and bang out a stunning, heart-stopping fiction. He uses a lot of real New Yorkers in this one; which makes for vivid reading; try Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and, briefly the author offers up Osama bin Laden in the days just before he was killed. In fact, the latter event is germane to what happens in The Intercept.

Jeremy Fisk is the name of the star detective of this book and author Wolf calls it "a Jeremy Fisk novel," so I expect we'll be reading more of Mr. Fisk. No, I'm not revealing anything about the intrigues of this fabulous new book. I'll just say with everybody else that it's un-put-downable, full of good and bad guys and lots of surprises. Again, it is a cautionary tale of how Islamic extremism has changed and grown since 9/11 -- and even before. It is stunningly more sophisticated and more terrifying.

I happened to be reading The Intercept in a large house party where there were several TV personalities and they were surprised and pleased to find themselves as part of the book's plot. Real-life news reporters and celebrities from ABC's Nightline and NBC's Today show play their roles in Mr. Wolf's story. It was fun to read aloud from the book at dinner where several people were shocked and surprised to hear their very names emanating from Mr. Wolf's pages.

They hadn't known about The Intercept. If you are a thrill seeker, don't miss this novel. It's from William Morrow. I'll bet you find it on the best-seller list any minute.

  • Invitations are already piling up for events happening in the spring of this year. (Remember spring?)

My cohorts and I already have Whoopi Goldberg appearing in a live unfettered uncensored interview for the Maria Droste Agency's April 9th cocktail "do"... The famous Matrix Awards lunch happens on April 22 at the Waldorf. I won this thing once upon a time and had the former governor of Texas, Ann Richards, introduce me. But the Matrix Awards haven't paid one bit of attention to anyone I've ever recommended to them. So much for "power of the press"... Bette Midler is opening at a Broadway theater still to be named, on April 24th. The show is titled "I'll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers"... Hale House gives its Spring Gala on April 3 at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Frederick Anderson, Janice Innis-Thompson and Alexandra Lebenthal are the chairs.

(Being a "chair" means you are not sitting down and you are working your ass off from now till the event.)

I'm sure there are thousands of other happenings in April, but right now I am worrying about February and March.

FORGIVE ME if I don't enter into the Beyonce "scandal" of whether or not she lip-synced "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Inauguration. Even Yo-Yo Ma said once upon a time it was too cold for him to play the cello outdoors and he had some back-up. I thought Beyonce was gorgeous and did well. A little help from her recording friends? Pul-eeze! Get something real to worry about.