The sale of anti-aging products in the U.S. is estimated to about $12 billion annually. The worldwide market may be four times at large. Not surprisingly, mislabeling and false claims for these products are rampant.
Although there is no doubt that injections of BOTOX and other botulinum products are effective in reducing the signs of aging (i.e. reducing crow’s feet around the eyes, laugh lines, and wrinkles on the brow), many doubt the wisdom of—but not the profits from—BOTOX parties. At these events, women receive injections of botulinum toxin at multiple sites in a party environment in someone’s home with plenty of food and alcohol. Nevada has now banned these at-home parties. Many states require that injections at these parties be made by a physician or nurse. However, basic safety requirements are more difficult to maintain at these parties than in a clinic.
In the U.S., the FDA is the chief agency monitoring the safety of cosmetic products and assessing the veracity of the claims. Many Americans don’t realize FDA can not only fine but also incarcerate manufacturers and spa/store owners that knowingly produce, advertise and sell dangerous or mislabeled items.
I like to describe the situation in the cosmetic industry this way: those who try to make the public believe it is a crime to look old are sometimes committing crimes. That’s a basic premise in my new mystery.
In FAIR COMPROMISES, twenty residents in New Mexico come into clinics and doctors’ offices complaining of double or blurred vision, sagging eyelids, and headaches the day after a political rally. Public health workers quickly hypothesize the cause was botulism toxin in improperly home canned food served at the rally. Unfortunately, one individual’s symptoms are much more severe. If her muscle paralysis continues unchecked, she will die. New Mexico health officials contact the FBI because that patient is a candidate for the U.S. Senate and they fear she may have been targeted.
The mystery turns from being the analysis of a severe food safety breach to the investigation of a diabolical murder attempt using “cosmetic” botulism toxin when scientist Sara Almquist with the help of a talented FBI lab crew discover a more sinister source of the toxin at a health and beauty spa in Santa Fe. FDA officials then help the FBI solve this case and seek justice for the victims.
FAIR COMPROMISES has message: It’s not a crime to show your age and the relentless search for youthful beauty can be dangerous.
Now you’re ready for some fun. Read FAIR COMPROMISES and see what happens to a politician who tried too hard to look young.
In FAIR COMPROMISES, Sara Almquist and her FBI colleagues rush to find who endangered the lives of a hundreds at a political rally by poisoning the food with botulism toxin. The poisoners’ target was a woman candidate for the U.S. Senate; the rest were just collateral damage. As these agents track clues from a veterans’ hall in Clovis to health spas of Santa Fe, they must make a multitude of personal and professional (perhaps too many) compromises.
J.L. Greger is a scientist turned novelist. She includes science and international travel in her award-winning mysteries and thrillers: The Flu Is Coming, Games for Couples; Dirty Holy Water, Fair Compromises, and seven others. https://www.jlgreger.com
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