Bodies to Die For

Lori Brand

Psychological Thriller

Perfect for fans of You Shouldn’t Have Come Here and None of This Is True, Bodies to Die For is a brilliant psychological thriller that will have readers wondering whether the perfect body really is worth dying for …

Popular fitness influencer Gemma has transformed herself from a Before into an After, complete with washboard abs, thriving business, and gorgeous husband. But social media can be deceiving. Offline, the cutthroat world of bikini bodybuilding may just eat her alive. That’s if she’s not first devoured by the secret nemesis that lurks beneath her polished surface, waiting to destroy her.

Software engineer Ashley is fat and frustrated. Frustrated with failed diets. With a world that wants her to shrink. With biased doctors, online trolls, and even her own mother. Until Ashley falls in with a mysterious and radical sect of Fat Activists who are fighting back … by any means necessary. She’s never felt so alive, so full of purpose. She’ll do whatever it takes to ride this high, destroy Diet Culture, and win the approval of her charismatic leader.

But when Gemma’s toughest rival turns up dead, and more fitness girls fall like dominoes, it’s beginning to look like the body image war has gone too far.

With breakneck pace and keen insights, Bodies to Die For takes a hard look at social media, the $70 billion diet industry, and the war on women’s bodies–the wars we wage with each other, and with ourselves.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) Fitness influencer Gemma has changed her life and now has the body she wants, the perfect-looking husband and a successful business. This is essentially the life (and body) she has always wanted. Ashley is out of shape, tired of fad diets, annoyed her mother always drops not-so-subtle hints about her weight, and just fed up with having no direction in life.

I was worried I wouldn’t like a book about diet culture. Oddly enough, I was hooked quickly. It was relatable (no matter your experiences with weight) and had an exciting mystery with murder.  I was impressed with Brand for taking such a sensitive subject matter and making it relatable and inspiring while also entertaining the hell out of me.

The mystery involved the diet culture and it’s ruthlessness. There were those that were for it but also those that were against it. Sabotage was not out of the question. Both Ashley and Gemma found themselves over their heads in situations that were out of control on opposite ends of the culture. As the story unfolded, the layers to each character were peeled away revealing the person underneath. This! I love self-discovery in a book. There was something so raw and hopeful with these characters. With quotes such as, “Could I be a warrior?’ and “You don’t fight because you’re strong. You’re strong because you fight.” it was easy to sense both the pressure from society but also the fighter within.

And that end? Fabulous. While I had my suspicions, I did not fully guess the twist which was happy while also being exciting. What a great message this one sends to women everywhere.

**Quotes are from the advanced reviewers copy. Quotes may or may not be in the final copy.

“I think all little girls, at some point, fantasize about a man saving them. It’s a cornerstone of all fairy tales: Snow White is awakened with a kiss. So is Sleeping Beauty. Cinderella is saved from poverty by a prince. Why are they all saved? Because they are beautiful and kind and demure, and apparently can’t save themselves. We are steeped in this lie that if we just look pretty (in none of the fairy tales is there any mention of the damsels being clever or industrious) and are patient (some of them wait for one hundred years), then a wealthy man (preferably a prince) will rescue us.”

“I can finally quit worrying about who is going to show up and just get on with the business of taking care of myself. As it turns out, I’ve been doing it the whole time.”

“Getting physically strong gave me the mental strength to dump shitty friends, quit shitty jobs, and just expect better. To believe I deserved better.”

“I want to shift the focus back to getting strong. Because that’s the game changer. Once you do that, you no longer obsess about what you can’t eat but focus on the fuel you need to nourish your body. Instead of fighting it, you embrace it.”

“These bodybuilders were a rather high-strung breed. Maybe they just needed carbs?”

“Fat shaming doesn’t just hurt fat women. It hurts all women. It subtly lets us know our place.”

General content summary: F words= 81

C***= 4


Corpse (blood, few details, strangled)

Allegations of spouse physical abuse (few details)

Fat shaming/Body shaming/Fit shaming (multiple, either personal shame or done by others)

Parent death (previous, few details, surgery complications, getting hit by a car, heart attack)

Infidelity (previous, child saw parent with another, few details but referenced, closed door scene)

Suspected Murders (3x, few details of murder)

Break in (house)

Masturbation (brief reference, then brief scene with few details)

Intimacy (multiple fantasies in some detail, physical reactions to being turned on, swimsuit naked mishap, open door scene with details)

Physical violence (previous hit on head to unconsciousness then breaking nose, punch that makes one unconscious, strangulation and fighting back, bite and blood and hitting with an object, head injury and unconsciousness, stun gun and unconsciousness, punching and physical aggression including blood)


ADHD and medication 

Biological parent search 

M/M relationship (no details)

Explosion (intense scenes but few details)


Thank you to Thriller Book Lovers Promotions and NetGalley for the copy!

The book releases June 11, 2024.

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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