Detective Tara Tanner is a member of the La Flore Police Department in an unnamed state. Forbes magazine lists La Flore among the 15 best places to live and Better Health magazine identifies La Flore as being among the top five healthiest cities. Fitness facilities are in abundance and private trainers flourish despite the cost of their services.
Tanner is called in to take the lead in a murder case when a body is found in Sheridan Park on the city’s north side. Another body is found on a highway, then another and another. As the body count rises Tanner becomes convinced a serial killer is at work. She zeroes in on a fitness trainer and theorizes that he is killing proxies, selecting people other than his clients to become his victims. When the investigation stalls a special federal agent, a profiler, is called in to take over the lead and the official police inquiries follow another path. Guided by her instincts and with the tacit approval of her boss, Tanner pursues her investigation on her own. She outmaneuvers the killer physically and mentally and unlocks a few secrets about herself in the process.
The author exhibits firsthand knowledge of the fitness world, being a personal trainer and national level bodybuilding competitor himself. According to his bio he also owns a fitness center. This insider viewpoint provides a level of authenticity in Fit to Kill. However, the plot becomes muddied by too many other influences—the insecurities of heroine Tanner, the conspiracy theory surrounding the killer’s background as a wash-out from Navy SEAL school, and the departmental rivalries in the La Flore Police Department, to name a few. The story gets off to a slow start and coasts along as the killings are revealed, some in over-the-top language.
Fit to Kill is an easy read with an intriguing plot and graphic writing. The generous reader won’t mind that the killer’s identity is revealed halfway through the book. The cranky reader might protest. After all, this is supposed to be a mystery.
Reviewed by Eveline Speedie for IndieReader