Most people realize that the beauty industry may not be all beautiful under the surface. In Size Zero, a thriller by AC Moyer, the veneer is pulled back and then some revealing a world that is not just unsavory, but criminal. A cold case rears its ugly head when a girl who’s been dead ten years shows up on the runway as a grim fashion accessory. Cecil LeClaire, her boyfriend who was a suspect in the case, aims to clear his name, and teams up with the irreverent Ava Germaine, who has scores to settle of her own. What they uncover reveals a dark and insidious world lurking beneath the fashion industry.
Echoing a similar mood to the movie “The Neon Demon” (albeit a lot more straightforward than that) Size Zero is a provocative read. As a former model herself, Moyer injects a lot of realistic detail into the modeling scene, while reading in part as if this is Moyer’s revenge on an industry that may be a lot seamier than it lets on. Yes, the book takes this premise to an exaggerated extreme, but its dark mood is a reflection of what may actually be happening, and so the book is part social criticism, as well as crime thriller.
Using a term like “social criticism” may make it seem like the book is an overly issue-driven work of sociology, or too on-the-nose satire, but thankfully it isn’t, as Moyer stays within the necessary confines of a thriller to keep the reader glued to the book for plot alone. She’s an observant and incisive writer when either laying her sights on the modeling industry, or writing about a grisly crime.
A weakness in the book is some of her observations are somewhat old hat – most know that anorexia is rife in the modeling industry, for example. However, these tropes are kept to a minimum, and on the whole Size Zero is an entertaining dark thriller that deserves attention.