Ballantine, Aug 2008, $25.00
When her career collapsed after leaving behind her teen years, former supermodel Scarlett Ulrich landed in Tokyo working at a bar. However, when Scarlett, the face that launched a million album covers, vanishes; her half-sister, Luella “Lou” McCartney becomes concerned. Knowing she needs help, Lou asks her reporter friend Annie Anderson to investigate.
Anne explains she is now a fashion features editor for Handbag magazine and is no longer doing investigative journalism as she used to (see FASHION VICTIM); besides she is in New York City while Scarlett was in Tokyo. However, Anne makes a few long distance inquiries and learns of Japan’s Roppongi Ripper, who has murdered several Western young blonde females; she fears Scarlett is on the dead list. She heads to Tokyo to learn what happened to Scarlett.
The investigation is superb as Anne tries to find Scarlett, but it is the look at the fashion industry’s obsession with the young that makes the tale worth reading. The father of the half-sisters symbolizes the youth fixation as Rufus is a “modelizer” who only wants to screw the latest superstar who is younger than his daughters. Readers will enjoy Sam Baker’s fine exposé in which twenty is old, twenty five is the walking dead, and thirty is an ancient history corpse.