An obese teenage boy agrees to be the face of a lawsuit against the fast-food industry, not realizing that doing so has marked him as a target for a serial killer.
Jeremy Harjo Barton is fat, asthmatic, and unpopular. His life in Cleveland with his overworked single mom and his verbally abusive, agoraphobic grandfather revolves around his hiding in his room playing online games and eating his feelings away while longing to explore his Native American roots—the only thing left to him by his long-dead father. Life changes when Sue Fort, a nurse from a public weight-management clinic, convinces him to help with a lawsuit against the fast-food industry, arguing that as a result of excessive advertising, socioeconomic factors, and other things out of Jeremy’s control, the odds are stacked against him and others when it comes to obesity. Sue is a lightning rod for controversy thanks to her tough, take-no-prisoners attitude, and soon a great deal of unkind media attention is bestowed upon the lawsuit and Jeremy, now “the posterboy of fat.” The news coverage catches the attention of a serial killer named Darwin—a vicious fitness obsessive who hears a voice in his head telling him to murder fat people—who has decided to make Jeremy and Sue his next targets. Author Rubin (The Seneca Scourge, 2012), a public health advocate herself, manages to tell her story from three distinct perspectives without shortchanging any plotlines. Darwin occasionally comes across as a goofy, over-the-top villain, right down to his obsession with jigsaw puzzles, but Sue and Jeremy are both likable and lifelike protagonists. While the big reveal of Darwin’s true identity ends up being rather predictable, it doesn’t lessen the thrills of the story’s climax.
A solid thriller that manages to infuse one boy’s coming-of-age with a whole lot of murder.