The Tokyo Cover Girls
(The Tokyo Cover Girls , #1)
Publication date: April 28th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
New York has Jacobs, Paris has Chanel, Milan has Versace and Tokyo has . . . Hello Kitty toilet plungers? With its cute-obsessed catalogue and magazine market, anyone who is anyone knows that modeling in Japan means being at the bottom of the fashion industry. Blake, Jess, and Hailey are doing their best to survive yet another casting where pigtails and toddler-impressions are a must when they stumble upon the opportunity of a lifetime. The prestigious Satsujin company has selected them to compete for a campaign that will transform the winner from commercial nobody to haute couture superstar faster than you can say Vogue Italia.
Of course, nothing is ever what it seems in the fashion world. Just ask all those dead girls . .
Jackie Amsden worked as a fashion model in China, Japan, and Taiwan before retiring at the age of eighteen after one too many agent threats, nude photo shoot requests, and self-loathing-induced Pocky binges. If you’d like to learn more about her decent into the darker side of Asia’s candy-coated modeling industry sign up for free installments of her upcoming memoir and get updates about the sequel to The Tokyo Cover Girls at www.jackieamsden.com.
“It’s Robert. You know the drill, birds.” The sound of a short beep followed her Tokyo BFF’s recorded voice.
Blake scanned the crowded Roppongi sidewalk for Robert’s familiar navy eyes and rugby-player shoulders from her spot next to a row of vending machines. It was Tuesday night and she had been waiting for him to show up for a good half an hour. And now to top it off he wasn’t even answering his phone. She hit the End Call button and rolled her eyes. Bloody Robert. He was always pulling this shit. Blake leaned back on the plastic display and inhaled the pulsating energy around her.
Roppongi was Tokyo’s premier nightclub district, and it showed. Whereas the rest of the city was starting to slow down at this time of night, here things were starting to ramp up, the digital screens and billboards mounted on the towers swirling and blinking just a little bit faster, the bass systems on passing cars booming just a little bit lower, and the crowds of people pounding the sidewalk just a little bit harder. The party was on and she’d never had more reason to celebrate: her nightmare was finally about to end.
Blake had been rummaging through discount flip-flops at the East Sacramento Walmart two years earlier when a guy in a pink polo shirt had tapped her on the shoulder. Turned out he wasn’t a pervert and at the age of fifteen, Blake got her first Tokyo modeling contract.
Though some girls struggled to get bookings during their first trip, she hadn’t. Blake had been signed with the city’s best agency, Elite Tokyo, and had shot all the biggest fashion mags within a month. And when she wasn’t working, she was partying with photographers, models, and stylists (no one carded cute foreigners in Tokyo)—rocking it out to Korean trance or pounding glow-in-the-dark vodka shots. Tokyo had everything and anything a person could think of when it came to nightlife—there was even a bar themed after that stupid pirate show.
She and Robert had met during one of those nights—he’d been serving drinks at a restaurant he worked at part-time when he wasn’t modeling. They weren’t together, together—Robert wasn’t into blondes—but she couldn’t deny thinking about it. She’d never met a guy who loved leather knee boots as much as she did. Plus, he looked like a GQ cover.
Then those girls had gone missing, and things had started to change. All of the bodies had been found in Roppongi. A lot of people had gotten freaked and stopped coming out, stopped texting her even. “Bad omen,” her photographer friend, Fukashi, had said. Her bookings had started to slow down around then, too. Even Koka Lingerie, her oldest and most faithful client, hadn’t yet contacted her about their winter catalogue. Were they skipping it this year or shooting it without her? And then, last June Elite had refused to offer her a contract for the first time ever—claiming some crap excuse about a slumping economy. She’d had no choice but to go with Visage. Worst of all: for the first time ever she had to go to castings instead of getting booked directly through her agent like some kind of “regular” model.
It all seemed just too coincidental, and Blake couldn’t help but wonder if her Tokyo friends and clients were really pulling away because of all the bad shit going down in the city, or if it was about something much worse: the photo. Had the Twins posted it somewhere new? Was that why Hiro and Jess had been all whispery at that casting the day before?
Blake glanced at her phone, then back up at the sidewalk, combing the swarm of passing faces. Fifty-seven minutes. That was weird. This was getting late, even for him. What if he wasn’t on his way at all? What if he had found out, too? What if he was going to ditch her like the others had?