FITNESS KILLS by Helen Barer


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A Mexican spa’s emphasis on a healthy lifestyle is undercut by murder.

New York food writer Nora Franke is delighted when she lands a cushy job updating recipes and researching a cookbook for the Rancho de las Flores spa in Baja California. The stress of Nora’s recent breakup with her longtime lover Max, in charge of the U.S. Attorney’s Major Crime Unit, has packed 30 pounds on her petite frame. Hoping the job will help get her back in shape, she befriends a group who come to the spa every year. When Alan is found dead atop a mountain and CeCe dies from poison in front of her, Nora’s journalistic instincts kick in. An offer to write a magazine article based on her experiences spurs her on in her quest for the truth. No intrepid sleuth, Nora is thrilled when Max arrives to assist the Mexican police and they resume their affair. Perhaps the marijuana plants growing all over have something to do with the deaths. Alan, who was brother-in-law to the Cerillos brothers, who own the ranch, had shared investments with several of his friends and laundered drug money on the side. Nora doesn’t want to believe one of his pleasant circle is a murderer, but her continued snooping makes her the target of a determined killer.

A debut that introduces an intriguing sleuth who needs more room to grow and a harder case to solve.

Pub Date: July 18th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-59414-585-8
Page count: 207pp
Publisher: Five Star/Gale Cengage
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2007