He was one of the most commercially successful authors of the 20th century. You either loved him or hated him.
If you hated him it was because you thought he was lurid and trashy and his plots were formulaic. You probably didn't like his prose because it was too simple and heavy on adjectives.
If you liked him, you probably thought he was one of the most gifted story tellers of our time. This is the camp I fall into.
I am very willing to look past his trashy and campy plots. I can also ignore the uninteresting prose. What I can't ignore was his ability to generate excitement and buzz about his characters and the lives they lead.
I have a fun time living vicariously through the protagonists who work themselves up from rags to riches, only to fall, and then redeem themselves. Kind of like VH1's Behind The Music.
He also was another who could be a very cinematic writer and had his characters jetting around to exotic locales.
I recommend reading some of his earlier novels such as Never Love A Stranger, A Stone For Danny Fisher, The Dream Merchants and most of all, The Carpet Baggers. These novels really shine amongst all his others and show off his literary prowess. Also, they are less sexually explicit than his later novels and really have strong sense of story.
Harold Robbins has always been a very guilty pleasure of mine. His books are still in print and can be purchased for your Kindle at www.amazon.com