cover image Pretty in Ink.

Pretty in Ink.

Lindsey J. Palmer. Kensington, $15 trade paper (292 pages) ISBN 978-0-7582-9433-3

In this debut novel, when Mimi Walsh is appointed the new editor-in-chief of Hers, a "middle-America" women's magazine, the staff shivers in their Prada boots. Mimi is looking for the sort of writer who is excited to trade her husband a sex act for expensive shoes and then blog about it. However, the current masthead is populated by fancy resumes who wish they were doing highbrow journalism but instead are stuck sneering at their target market, the "chubby women with bad hair and ill-fitting clothes" who buy Hers in Midwestern mega-malls. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different employee. As a result, it's sometimes hard to get attached to follow the path of any one character. At the same time, it's the perfect structure for a story filled with juicy gossip and outrageous office politics. The result is a dishy, catty book, that's neither uplifting nor inspiring but an indulgent roll in the mud. Palmer writes this side of womanhood brilliantly. Agent: Joelle Delbourgo, Joelle Delbourgo Associates. (Apr.)