Author: Vanessa Raphaely
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Reviewer: Nancy Richards
Some people are born to write a book not any book, but a particular book, and Vanessa Raphaely was definitely starred for this one. So it’s set in the heart of women’s magazineland – and not only was Vanessa raised by magazine-pioneer mother Jane Raphaely, but she herself was both editor of Cosmo in South Africa and in London where she launched and edited a major health and beauty title. The point being, Vanessa knows what she’s talking about. Though hopefully she may be exaggerating just a little, in some instances anyway.
Plus One’s protagonist is South African-born Lisa Lassiter, deputy editor of glamour magazine Fille in London. ‘Plus One’ being the second-class title given to partners of the main invitees to posh events. Like for instance a weekend away off the coast of Mykonos on a billionaire’s yacht where Lisa is persuaded to go (as PO) with her best buddy, gorgeous golden movie star Claudia Hemmingway As you may imagine on a yacht full of A listers, a great deal of cocaine and champagne is going down and Something Really Awful happens. From here, as if life in the style-society lane weren’t already spiked with backstabbing and bombshells, things start to seriously unravel.
Lisa and Claudia fall out big time and the lovely Ms Lassiter reinvents herself with restored dignity back in South Africa. But bear in mind this is a crime novel in essence, well crime and passion perhaps – and unpacking that crime is, to coin a phrase, complicated – as is the passion. Claudia has a hot but uber-cool brother, Liam.
Whilst Vanessa will take you by Lisa’s manicured hand and guide you gasping through the air-kissing coke and couture set and their shenanigans – she has not been afraid to pull back the curtain on the dark side of celebrity – on power, deception and rape. Got you guessing? Yup, it will – right to the end.