Berenger is The Wraith, a nineteen-year-old supermodel famous for her terrifying half-crazed stare. She becomes even more famous the morning her plain and prim personal assistant, Nile Kirk, finds her body in their Manhattan apartment.
The police can't unravel the mystery, but from her prison cell Nile recounts Berenger's meteoric rise and scandalous marriage to the eighty-two-year-old composer Aaron Karsner. And she reveals her own secret passion for Addam, Berenger's blue-eyed ex, a rock star who also happens to be Aaron's grandson.
An ordinary girl thrown into an unpredictable world of glamorous, skinny, gum-chewing fashion brats, Nile has to learn new rules for survival as she grapples with questions about sexual identity, loyalty, beauty, infidelity and love.
A dazzlingly plotted psychological thriller and heartbreaking love story, Wraith mixes horror and comedy in a world of high fashion and low motive.
I am not alone in my miserable little cell Berenger hovers on the edge of the hard mattress but making no dent in it, her chalky fingers picking at a binding she can't feel, her small teeth gnawing at a lip that isn't really there.'I was, like, cursed,' she says. 'Oh come on,' I scoff. 'That is utterly ridiculous. I was there, remember? I saw how much you suffered. Trunks of couture gowns and Concorde everywhere and Spanish playboys following you in packs.'
'You don't understand.' Her jaw, which is no more than a pale line drawn in air, tilts upwards, the same stubborn set she had to it in life. She raises her arm and scrutinises it, as if she were seeing it for the first time. It looks like a jagged arrangement of chicken bones wrapped in translucent egg noodle. And then she turns those white china eyes on me. 'If I wasn't cursed, then what is this?'
You can't ever argue with a ghost.
"A novel based around the death of a supermodel may sound like the perfect lightweight book for the plane but Wraith is far more dark and subversive than that. Told through the eyes of a dowdy and increasingly deranged personal assistant, Wraith is full of searing insights into the business of being beautiful, and drips with caustic, cosmopolitan humour. Tulloch has a real understanding of fashion's international 'cool crowd', a subject she visited with her novel Fabulous Nobodies. But Wraith is a far more complex investigation of the banality beneath the glamour, a twisted urban tale full of ghosts, junkies, rock stars, wild sex, cadaverous models, squalid childhoods and designer clothes. For once in the history of fashion novels, the author gets all the industry argot and references spot on."
- Harper's Bazaar.
- The Australian.
"It's a thriller, a whodunit, a genre that depends on promising and withholding gratification, on revealing what really happened... but not yet. It is also a piece of female Gothic, a tale of deaths, apparitions, family inheritances, confusions of identity and questions of who to trust and who to believe, a story which explores the female experience through extremes, through heightened sensation and occult manifestations. But the novel also has direct, immediate pleasures, moments of deft comedy and knowing one-liners: Tulloch is very good at verisimilitude, at making those Lagerfeld quotes and pieces of fashion industry gossip absurdly believable and believably absurd."
- Australian Book Review.
"As blockbuster entertainment, it fits the bill perfectly."
"Fashion writer and editor Tulloch has been commenting on the New York fashion mis-en-scene long enough to know how to catch and kill her glamorous quarry swiftly and enjoyably...There are ominous men preying on mutilated women, skulking reporters prowling around the story, and complicated pasts full of dark secrets and open family warfare...In the end, our sparkling fashion satire is stripped away to reveal a Grimm Fairy Tale from the nursery, with adult children inflicting and experiencing monstrous cruelty in both shining warehouses and dark tenements."
- Australian Way.