I got this book from a coworker and while reading it, I couldn't help but feel like I was missing part of the story. Well, that's because I was. My dumb self couldn't be bothered to read the #4 on the spine. Oops. I was lucky enough to read the first vol. as an ARC a few years ago, though, and remembered the basic premise. An STD called "The Beauty" turns the people afflicted with it into gorgeous specimens. The only drawback is that after about two years, they die. Horribly.
In vol. 4, a journalist is looking into The Beauty and a pharmaceutical company called Abericorp that is trying to repackage and market The Beauty like it's a spa treatment and not a disease. Abericorp is headed by a horrible woman that one of the characters calls "Granny Menegle" and that really isn't too far off, considering some of the stunts she pulls in this book. And then there's her henchman, Mr. Calaveras, who makes Two Face look like a kid at the fair with some adorable face paint.
This book was okay. I feel like all of the conspiracy stuff was a bit of a departure from the first book, and made it feel like one of those claustrophobic early 2000s sci-fi movies following in the wake of The Matrix. Part of that is probably because I missed books 2-3, but I still felt like this book didn't deliver on enough of the answers and also felt far too short.
3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars