by PETER BENCHLEY 301 pages. Doubleday. $7.95.
THE WEST END HORROR by NICHOLAS MEYER 222 pages. Dutton. $7.95.
Outlandishly successful pop novelists rarely take the money and run. Against all the nudgings of reason, they insist on plunging once more. The critical risk is great, of coursereviewers and remaindered colleagues are poised to carp. Yet the built-in publicity is there waiting for them, and with it, perhaps, the long-suffering reader.
This year the book trade's hot-stove league has throbbed with several questions: Can Peter Benchley snatch defeat from the Jaws of victory?...