"The Cancun Game," by Tosca Lee, in Infinity: A Suspense Magazine Anthology, edited by Catherine Coulter, Suspense Publishing, 2023.
I received a free copy of this book from an author.
I read a lot of stories that claim to be set in the present yet show no sign of knowing about recent developments. Consider the thousands of protagonists who go off to meet bad guys without bringing a cell phone.
So I appreciate a story that is firmly rooted in a recent trend.
Piper is an online influencer. She gets free clothing, jewelry, and trips, just for posting pictures of herself with all these luxuries.
Sounds like the good life, right?
Well, there's a downside. It takes a support team of two of her friends plus the occasional hairdresser or make-up artist to make it work. And a lot of the pictures are faked. (Pictures of two free days at a resort are stretched out to look like two weeks, etc.)
Still, things are looking up. Piper is moving up toward the top of the influencers on the social media channel. But then, someone starts killing whoever gets to the top...
I figured out where this was going, but I enjoyed the trip a lot.