Lynn Messina, Author . Red Dress $12.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-373-25025-7

An attempted putsch at glossy Fashionista magazine is the wickedly entertaining subject of Messina's debut novel. Smart, frustrated Vig Morgan is toiling as an associate editor ("A trend needs three examples to be declared—two might be a coincidence—and I frequently have to dig deep to find the third") under the tyrannical rule of editor-in-chief Jane McNeill. When a charismatic new editorial director, Marguerite, arrives on the scene, Vig and other lowly staffers come up with a bold and unlikely strategy to depose Jane. The plan is to get Fashionista to feature controversial artist Gavin Marshall, who outfits Jesus statues in Chanel and Dior. Readers will be incensed, advertisers alienated and Jane fired, the underlings reason. Vig's duty is to manipulate the misanthropic events editor, Alex Keller, whom no one has ever seen, into putting snapshots from Gavin's gallery opening in the magazine's events section. A visit to Alex's house reveals he is not the "wart-faced troll" Vig imagined, but a handsome young man who allows his Machiavellian secretary to do his job while he secretly goes to architecture school. Vig blackmails Alex; commiserates with her friend Maya over cocktails in swanky hotel bars; watches the catfights between Marguerite and Jane, who turn out to be old enemies (they were up-and-coming co-editors until Jane had the INS deport Marguerite back to Australia); and becomes increasingly smitten with Alex. The clever, single New York–publishing–type protagonist is standard chick lit fare, but Vig is refreshingly free from neurotic body obsessions and boyfriend angst. Messina's prose is witty and assured (she's read her Austen, her Wharton, her Noel Coward), and her novel is an irresistible frolic. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/27/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
Hardcover - 282 pages - 978-0-7783-0106-6
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-373-48123-1
Paperback - 280 pages - 978-0-373-89544-1
Open Ebook - 978-1-4592-4643-0
Paperback - 282 pages - 978-0-373-09070-9
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