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by Sam Baker
Orion, July 2005
272 pages
ISBN: 0752865919

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Annie Anderson, investigative journalist for The Post in London, is burned out. Her last story has taken its toll on her emotionally and she decides to resign, but her boss persuades her to take a break from life's seamier side by working for the hot new fashion monthly, Handbag, and get the lowdown on the fashion scene from a fresh angle.

Annie's first assignment is New York fashion week where she is sent to interview the up-and-coming designer Mark Mailer in between attending shows. It's a frenetic world where status is everything, a world apart from Annie's previous experience. It doesn't take a seasoned fashion journalist to spot the problem with Mailer's long-time girlfriend Patty Lang as she strides down the catwalk -- it looks like the former supermodel has lost her battle with drugs once again.

It seems certain that Patty's fall from grace will dominate the news of Fashion Week, but that's before Annie has the misfortune to witness a killing at very close quarters. Not satisfied with how the police wrap up the murder, Annie starts asking questions and it doesn't go unnoticed. Following the fashion world to London and finally Milan, the danger for Annie increases, as the full story slowly starts piecing itself together in her mind.

FASHION VICTIM is a classic page-turner, a good light read when glamour and escapism are the order of the day. The author, Sam Baker, has written for and edited several UK magazines, notably Company and Cosmopolitan, and their readership is undoubtedly amongst the target audience.

I liked Annie's cynical outsider view of the fashion business, relating its absurdities and snobberies, but also at times impressed by its lavish parties and sheer style. The writing is fluent, and Baker paints many vivid pictures of the shows, locations, and main events of the story.

These images were so strong, however, that the thriller element, whilst always in play, seemed very much a secondary theme until the book neared its conclusion. More clothes than clues, it had me hooked nonetheless.

Reviewed by Bridget Bolton, June 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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