Have you ever wondered why black is always in style? Valerie Strivers provides an answer to this age old question in her spirited debut novel, Blood is the New Black
Main character, Kate McAlliston has mixed feelings about her internship at the glossy women’s mag Tasty – the atmosphere is cold, the work menial, and her co-workers are a little strange, to say the least. At first, Kate wonders why the senior editors don’t get up before noon and why everyone is enamoured with a special “beet juice” that seems to do wonders for the metabolism. But just as she begins to warm up to her fellow interns, a series of mysterious murders gives a whole new meaning to the term â€œfashion victim. Fearing for her life, Kate (with the help of hot photographer James) must drive a stake into the evil that haunts Tasty.
Strivers is a seasoned member of the publishing industry (she interned at the now defunct Mirabella and worked at Travel & Leisure) and her satire of the world of women’s magazines rings true. With details like interns fighting over the chance to untangle belts in the accessories closet and a recently graduated employee who wrote a senior thesis on “the tiny bow on women’s panties”, Strivers captures the intensity, competition, and humour of the fashion world
Unfortunately, an uninteresting side plot about Kate’s missing fashion designer mother and a clumsy depiction of her attempts to fight off the vampiric fashionistas detract a bit from the overall strength of the novel. Creating a book about vampires with a suspenseful plot and pacing is difficult (see Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot for a successful example) and Strivers is best when relying on her wit and humour. Still, her first novel is a bloody cut above the usual chic lit faire.