Fit to Die by Daniel Kalla review: Great plot not well executed

HAY-ON-WYE, WALES - MAY 28: Visitors reading books at the Hay Festival on May 28, 2022 in Hay-on-Wye, Wales. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
HAY-ON-WYE, WALES - MAY 28: Visitors reading books at the Hay Festival on May 28, 2022 in Hay-on-Wye, Wales. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images) /

Fit to Die by Daniel Kalla offers a great plot with a lot of promise. Sadly, the writing doesn’t quite stand up to the expectations.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from Simon and Schuster Canada via NetGalley for free in return for an honest review.

I love thrillers. I love the whodunnits, especially when it’s mixed in with some sort of social commentary on the world today. That’s something Daniel Kalla promised with Fit to Die.

It takes us into the world of influencers and eating disorders. Through this, we have a series of deaths that multiple different cops and medical professionals are trying to get to the bottom of. Little do they know is that everything is connected.

While the plot is promising, I didn’t find the story really lived up to its potential. I’ll get into that in this review.

What is Fit to Die by Daniel Kalla about?

The story takes place in both Kalla’s native Vancouver and in Los Angeles. Owen Galloway is the son of a prominent U.S. senator, so when he’s found dead from an overdose in his bedroom, it’s up to the cops to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible. LAPD Detective Cari Garcia is sure that he’s just another teenager with a drug addiction, but what if there’s more to his story than that?

Meanwhile, in Vancouver, Dr. Julie Rees is alarmed by the number of overdoses among bodybuilders and those with eating disorders. It turns out that some diet pills being bought off the internet may be to blame.

So, when Rain Flynn, a popstar and social media influencer dies in her Vancouver hotel room, Julie is determined to get to the bottom of it. What does a wildly popular wellness center have to do with these mysterious deaths?

Fit to Die review: Doesn’t quite live up to expectations

This could have been a great book that brings to light the dangers of diet pills. Sure, that’s what it does. There are always warnings about watching what you put into your body. You just don’t know what you’re buying off the internet. But I don’t quite think this book goes into the influencer side of things as much as it could.

There could be a lot more depth to eating disorders, dieting, fitness, and the impact of social media influencers. Without influencers, it is possible that some of these pills wouldn’t make it as much of a widespread issue as they were. Look at how some problems have only grown due to influencers compared to the way they were just 20 years ago.

Yet, Kalla sticks to the main plot. He scratches the surface of some of the storylines that could be explored. I don’t even care about the victims as we don’t get to know them, and that is a flaw in the writing. I also really don’t need so much on the romantic lives of the detectives. There needs to be a balance between them, and I feel like sometimes the relationships are there just to help pad out the story instead of add more to the characters we do get to know.

Cari could have a lot more emotion in her thoughts. This is a bit of a spoiler here, but she talks about a family member who died of anorexia. This could have been a huge push for her to want to solve the crimes with the diet pills, but it just seems to be that “need to know about her” plot point. There’s so little emotion to the storyline and it doesn’t push her story forward the way you would expect.

What I will say is that Kalla’s experience in the medical field certainly comes through. If you didn’t know, Kalla is an MD. He knows his stuff, and that makes the medical side of this story interesting and detailed. I wish we could have that for other parts of the story. It’s clear he has it in him.

If you are looking for a quick plot that leaves you trying to figure things out with the cops, this is a must-read. If you want a little more character development and to feel like you actually care about the victims, it’s going to lack a few things. This would make a great episode of Chicago PD or something similar, especially with a crossover with Chicago Med.

Stars: 3.5 out of 5.

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Fit to Die by Daniel Kalla is now available on Amazon.