The Price You Pay

Barbara Summers, Author
Barbara Summers, Author Amistad Press $19.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-56743-047-9
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The author of the story collection Nouvelle Soul makes her novelistic debut with a glitzy tale of racism and intrigue in the world of modeling. Someone is killing the black women chosen to represent the Cleo cosmetics company in its new multicultural ad campaign. Selected as a Cleo girl, 18-year-old Nicky Knight, daughter of a pioneering African American model and a music producer, gets worried when she begins receiving threatening notes and anonymous deliveries of 13 roses--just like the two models who have been murdered. An easily identifiable killer and a string of subplots having little to do with the mystery rob the text of narrative tension, but a cast of well-developed characters keeps the reader interested. Summers, herself a former Ford model, writes with firsthand knowledge about the dilemmas faced by women of color in this line of work; glimpses of their rarefied world distinguish this otherwise unexciting example of glamour fiction from the pack of Danielle Steel wannabes. (Feb.)
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