A gripping new thriller that unpacks the horrors of exploitation in the garment industry, blending the nailbiting courtroom drama of John Grisham with the emotional heart of Khaled Hosseini.
'Poignant and engrossing ... Corban Addison will hold you spellbound with his elegant prose from his first word to his last' Wilbur Smith
In Dhaka, Bangladesh, a garment factory burns to the ground, claiming the lives of hundreds of workers, mostly young women. Amid the rubble, a bystander captures a heart-stopping image-a teenage girl lying in the dirt, her body broken by a multi-storey fall, and over her mouth a mask of fabric bearing the label of one of America's largest retailers, Presto Omnishops Corporation. When the photo goes viral, it fans the flames of a decades old controversy about sweatshops, labour rights, and the ethics of globalization.
A year later, in Washington, D.C., Joshua Griswold, a disgraced former journalist for the Washington Post, receives an anonymous summons from a corporate whistleblower promising information about Presto. He offers Griswold confidential information about Presto's apparel supply chain.
For Griswold, the challenge of exposing Presto's wilful negligence is irresistible, as is the chance, however slight, at redemption. Deploying his old journalistic skills, he builds a historic case against Presto, setting the stage for a war in the courtroom and in the media that Griswold is determined to win - both to salvage his reputation and to provoke a revolution of conscience in Presto's boardroom that could change the course of the fashion industry across the globe.
In this condemning portrayal of the endemic abuses that undergird the international fashion industry, Addison (Tears of the Dark Water) takes the reader on a journey across the world, tracking a brand of clothing from retailer to distributor to manufacturer to sweatshop factory. In a news image gone viral, a pair of pants bearing the label of mega-retailer Presto Omnishops is seen wrapped around the face of a young Bangladeshi girl the victim of a tragic fall during a building fire in her workplace, where clothing orders from Presto were fulfilled. Facing international scandal and falling market shares, Presto tasks their attorney, Cameron Alexander, to investigate. His thorough efforts uncover a massive level of corruption and willful corporate blindness to the labor trafficking upon which the company's profits rest. Then, a year later, investigative journalist Joshua Griswold receives a tip from a whistle-blower inside Presto. With that information he builds a case that heads to the courtroom to expose corporate malfeasance from the lowest manager up to the board of directors. In this incisive, necessary book, readers accompany the investigators to the slums of Bangladesh and Malaysia back to the retail stores of America, learning with them the true price of cheap clothing. Through his broad, intelligent research and insightful writing, Addison prods the conscience, trumpeting justice while acknowledging that the cost of a globalized society is incalculably higher than the price of a T-shirt.