Review By Gabrielle

Master of the medical thriller, Daniel Kalla returns, and this time he’s taking on diet culture with Fit to Die.

Favourite Quote:

Rain hops onto the scale with both feet. But her breath catches. And, almost involuntarily, her eyelids slam shut. Only after she steadies her breathing does she tilt down and open her eyes. How bad can it be?

“96.4” the blue numbers glow.

The elation overwhelmed her. More so than if she had found another ten million Insta followers. She prayed she would be under triple digits, but this is three pounds lighter than she dared hope.

Goodreads Synopsis: 

When Owen Galloway, the track star son of a prominent US senator, is found dead of an overdose in his bedroom, LAPD Detective Cari Garcia suspects that he’s just another teenager who hid a drug addiction.

In Vancouver, Dr. Julie Rees, an experienced toxicologist, notices a growing number of overdoses among the eating disordered and body builders, and mentions it to her boyfriend, Detective Anson Chen.

Then Rain Flynn, a famous pop star and social media influencer, dies in her Vancouver hotel room showing the same symptoms of a fatally high fever and uncontrollable seizures as Julie’s other ER patients, including the coowner of a wildly popular wellness center with locations in both Vancouver and LA.

After an autopsy confirms that Rain overdosed on illicit diet pills containing a deadly toxin known as DNP—an explosive agent originally used in the trenches of World War I—the media gets hold of the story and runs wild with it. But who’s behind the online marketing and distribution of DNP? And how is the wellness center connected? The daunting challenge of putting the pieces together falls to Detectives Garcia in LA and Chen in Vancouver. Can they solve these crimes before DNP becomes the next viral TikTok challenge?

Wowser, this is yet another hit from Daniel. I just love how he crafts such intense, thrilling storylines with important social commentary. The reader can explore different sides of an issue through his characters’ eyes. And for this book, he has chosen a biggie. Diet culture is undoubtedly a pertinent issue worth exploring. With the advent of social media and influencers, never has the pressure to look a certain way been more relevant.

Specifically, in this book, we learn about DNP, a toxic drug that, unfortunately, is not a fabrication on Daniel’s part. At the end of the book, we get a revealing author’s note about just how real and dangerous DNP is. I’m glad he wrote this book so I could be more aware of it—scary stuff.

The book is told from multiple perspectives. We have Detective Cari Garcia in LA, Dr. Julie Rees in Vancouver, Detective Anson Chen, Gerard Martin, a fitness centre owner, and a couple of chapters told from the perspective of one of the victims, superstar Rain Flynn. As I would expect from one of Daniel’s books, all of the characters are wonderfully crafted. They all have their own reasons for feeling invested in the string of deaths attributed to DNP in both Vancouver and LA.

I thought the pacing of the story was great. There is a sense of urgency, but it’s not a pulse-pounding thriller. And that suits this story really well, so we have enough time as readers to get to know the issue. I think if it had been too fast-paced, we would have lost some of that.

Once again, I’m in awe at Daniel’s ability to help the reader understand complex medical information without feeling like you’re sitting in a lecture hall. You really do learn a lot reading one of his books, and he somehow makes that learning super enjoyable. It’s a delicate balance to not overdo it with medical jargon but also give enough information, and Daniel nails it every time.

Overall, another entertaining read from Daniel Kalla, shedding light on an important issue.

Thank you, Simon and Schuster for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.