KILLER BODY

Bonnie Hearn Hill, Author
Bonnie Hearn Hill, Author . Mira $23.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7783-2016-6
Reviewed on: 01/12/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
Mass Market Paperbound - 371 pages - 978-0-7783-2127-9
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Not all fitness freaks and weight-obsessed females are seeking "killer" bodies, but some who do will go to any lengths for perfection. At the start of this second thriller by Hill (after Intern ), three women are competing to replace Julie Larimore, the mysteriously missing spokesperson/model for Killer Body, a successful chain of fitness centers. Tania Marie Camp is a foul-mouthed word freak with the habit of gorging on Milano cookies dipped in tomato soup and then working off the calories in the gym; Rochelle McArthur is a has-been TV star, whose "bitch self" throws tantrums to get her way; Gabriella Pacquette, separated from a French prince and sporting a fake accent, is frank about her weight problem, but secretly desperate for the job—she needs the money. Meanwhile, plucky young newspaper reporter Rikki Fitzpatrick is investigating Larimore's disappearance and the quick replacement contest orchestrated by Killer Body's aging, alcoholic founder, former bodybuilder Bobby Warren. Strange threats and near-accidents dog each of the model wannabes and fuel Rikki's determination to expose the secrets of the trendy clinic; her own cousin Lisa died at 22 after joining for quick weight loss. This cautionary tale skips from one narrator to another with distracting "interviews" randomly interspersed. Hill's painstaking research into the weight loss industry is evident, and the tone is, on occasion, tendentious. As the action accelerates, however, the novel becomes a real page-turner. Hill gets the reader's attention with a contemporary issue (is slim the only way to be?), intriguing characters and clever plotting. Agent, Laura Dail. (Feb.)

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