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Fit to Kill Paperback – February 26, 2012
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The Amazon Book Review
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Reviewed by Alice D. for Readers Favorite
"Fit to Kill" is a riveting story of a police woman chasing a really scary killer who does not come across as psychotic on the surface. Good characters, good plot and good writing makes "Fit to Kill" a to-die-for read for thriller fans.
About the Author
Donnie Whetstone resides in Tumwater, Washington with his wife Diane. He is a full time personal trainer with over twenty years of experience and more than 70,000 training hours in homes, gyms and his own private training studio. Donnie is currently the owner of Whetstone Fitness located in both Olympia, Washington. Though Fit to Kill is his first novel, he is no stranger to writing, having written numerous articles on nutrition, weight training and fitness; appearing in newspapers, magazines and the Internet. In Fit to Kill, his experience as a trainer allowed him to truly immerse the reader into the world of fitness in this detective thriller. Donnie also has 13 years of military service in both the US Marines and US Army, serving as a platoon sergeant and acting first sergeant. His experience as a trainer and veteran was extremely helpful in writing Fit to Kill. He is currently writing a new novel entitled Night Spear, a suspense drama that combines both the supernatural and the military.
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Tanner is called in to take the lead in a murder case when a body is found in Sheridan Park on the city's north side. Another body is found on a highway, then another and another. As the body count rises Tanner becomes convinced a serial killer is at work. She zeroes in on a fitness trainer and theorizes that he is killing proxies, selecting people other than his clients to become his victims. When the investigation stalls a special federal agent, a profiler, is called in to take over the lead and the official police inquiries follow another path. Guided by her instincts and with the tacit approval of her boss, Tanner pursues her investigation on her own. She outmaneuvers the killer physically and mentally and unlocks a few secrets about herself in the process.
The author exhibits firsthand knowledge of the fitness world, being a personal trainer and national level bodybuilding competitor himself. According to his bio he also owns a fitness center. This insider viewpoint provides a level of authenticity in Fit to Kill. However, the plot becomes muddied by too many other influences--the insecurities of heroine Tanner, the conspiracy theory surrounding the killer's background as a wash-out from Navy SEAL school, and the departmental rivalries in the La Flore Police Department, to name a few. The story gets off to a slow start and coasts along as the killings are revealed, some in over-the-top language.
Fit to Kill is an easy read with an intriguing plot and graphic writing. The generous reader won't mind that the killer's identity is revealed halfway through the book. The cranky reader might protest. After all, this is supposed to be a mystery.
Reviewed by Eveline Speedie for IndieReader
While I personally did not like the book's style of being written in the present tense, the book itself was decently written, though it did at times get very detailed. And I mean very, very detailed. If you ever wanted to know about the workings of the fitness world of a personal trainer and his clients, this is the book for you.
I much enjoyed Tara's flashbacks and the actions of the serial killer, both of which were frighteningly in keeping with the genre. Both were believable characters, and the supporting characters, like Tara's daughter Sara, were also believable. There was a lot of graphic violence, as well as sexual references/scenes, but that also was in keeping with the genre. I really enjoyed all the details on Tara's past, and her damage made her easier to understand and identify with.
My main criticism was that the sex scenes were not sexy.
There was a lot of emphasis on physical fitness, as in if you are not a size 10 or below, you may feel uncomfortable. This made it hard to identify with the characters.
Note: A free review copy was provided by the author.
After a fairly lengthy introduction - that set the scene for a story set in the world of high fitness - this story took off. It was a very clever thriller. Things were done so that it kept you guessing most of the way through. It was graphic and violent and I loved it. Tara was the damaged detective, who usually relys on her gut instinct steering her right. After a case went wrong a couple of years before, she is no longer sure about her instincts and begins to doubt herself. Meanwhile the killer is well on his way to serial killer status by acting out all sorts of fantasies by brutalising his victims. This was fast paced, detailed (almost too much so in places) and had a mind blower of an ending. A great serial killer thriller for lovers of the genre.
What I didn't like: Nothing.
In sum: An excellent book, and well worth reading. I recommend it!