An unlikely action hero–a retired software tycoon turned health club owner–is at the center of this thin, fast-paced crime drama that’s more silly than suspenseful.
The Nashville Women’s Health Club serves as an exclusive getaway for the chic wives of the city’s business and social elite. The owner of the elaborate, high-end facility is Mark Rollins, who’s made a fortune developing software for law firms. Now enjoying his retirement, Rollins spends his free time as a fixer for the club’s clientele, helping the ladies solve divorce dilemmas, avoid former lovers and prevent tacky neighbors from loudly constructing tennis courts. When a local investment banker disappears while his wife is working out with a personal trainer, Rollins–â€œa remarkable man for someone who just runs a fitness center”–jumps headfirst into the case, especially after the trainer goes AWOL. With the help of brilliant computer hacker Bryan Gray and Mariko Lee, a heavily tattooed, motorcycle-riding aerobics instructor who doubles as her boss’s sidekick, Rollins finds himself in the middle of a mystery that includes a sniper attack at a Kentucky Super 8 Motel, a paramilitary security firm driving a fleet of Hummers and a disgruntled Italian-American crime family. What begins as missing-persons case quickly transforms into a worldwide conspiracy with an evil Russian mafia boss calling the shots. Despite the involvement of the FBI, all the heroics come from Rollins, whose dogged interest in the case seems outlandish given his tangential connection to the players. The plot, narrated for the most part by the protagonist, suffers from frequent stops for advice on business strategies, tips about the best Nashville restaurants and adoration for a particular conservative radio host. The interruptions distract from the central storyline and prevent the plot from gaining any suspenseful traction. The energy mustered up in the novel’s final chapters is quelled by a rushed, unconvincing finale.
A thriller much too distracted by trophy wives, yoga classes and outrageous retirement plans.