"A somber, disturbing mystery fused with a scathing look at the fashion industry. Mangin writes in a confident, razor-edged style." - Kirkus Reviews
Condom dresses and space helmets have debuted on fashion runways.
A dead body becomes the trend when a coat made of human skin saunters down fashion’s biggest stage. The body is identified as Annabelle Leigh, the teenager who famously disappeared over a decade ago from her boyfriend’s New York City mansion.
This new evidence casts suspicion back on the former boyfriend, Cecil LeClaire. Now a monk, he is forced to return to his dark and absurd childhood home to clear his name. He teams up with Ava Germaine, a renegade ex-model. And together, they investigate the depraved and lawless modeling industry behind Cecil’s family fortune.
They find erotic canes, pet rats living in crystal castles, and dresses made of crushed butterfly wings. But Cecil finds more truth in the luxury goods than in the people themselves. Everyone he meets seems to be wearing a person-suit. Terrified of showing their true selves, the glitterati put on flamboyant public personas to make money and friends. Can Cecil find truth in a world built on lies?
In high fashion modeling, selling bodies is organized crime.
Sex, scares, and satire are stitched together in Mangin's garbled debut chiller, set in the world of high fashion. At an elite New York runway show, model Ava Germaine, a victim of human trafficking, is shoved onto the stage wearing a coat made of human skin. Suspicion for the murder of the person whose skin the coat was made of falls on Ava's agent, the Trumpian Margaux LeClaire. When Margaux's son, 20-something Benedictine novice Cecil, receives his missing friend Annabelle Leigh's severed hand in the mail, he decides to investigate before taking his vows. Cecil and Ava team up to find the truth, cutting a swath through New York's fashion world as Mangin's shoestring plot veers wildly between satire, gore, and lectures on the abuses of the fashion industry, breathlessly depicting sexual exploitation and obscene wealth while loudly condemning both. The satire reads more like spite, with no redemption on offer for the mean-spirited, broadly drawn cast. This patchwork swipe at high fashion, wealth, and body image successfully horrifies but for all the wrong reasons.
Love this weird, vivid, satire mystery!
This story is really unique. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone I know, but would strongly recommend to all my friends!
The subject matter is dark & serious, but weirdly balanced with humor and absurdity. It feels in a lot of ways like a movie, a combination Eyes Wide Shut and Silence of the Lambs, but funnier.
The writing style is so easy to read and vivid and the story moves really quickly. There are huge twists, I thought I was smart because I suspected one of them but was blown away by the other. The characters and their relationships to each other both scary real and simply absurd - it reminds me of people I know and I love it.
Even though it’s set in an almost fantasy / satirical version of New York City’s elite high-fashion world, I believe a lot of the crazy things described and the horrors that take place there are real.
Thank you to the publisher for an advanced reader copy.