Karen’s Killer Book Bench: BODIES TO DIE FOR #Psychological #Thriller by Lori Brand

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Psychological Thriller


Perfect for fans of You Shouldn’t Have Come Here and None of This Is TrueBodies 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.”


Psychological Thriller


The ceiling is dripping. That’s what the guest called down.

Dale now stood in the bathroom of 651, gazing up to where a dark stain was forming. Fat water droplets collected in its belly, periodically splatting to the earth, like jumpers.

“Someone must have left the water on upstairs,” the guest offered. Dale’s headache, camped at the base of his skull since morning, spread out and set up satellites at his temples.

Gemma. That was the guest in the room above. Dale knew this because in the last twenty-four hours, she had lost her room key twice, misplaced the bottoms of her crystal-encrusted bikini, and run through the hotel lobby in a skimpy robe to flag down a police officer. She was one of the many crazy Olympia contestants.

For the second year in a row, the bodybuilding show was taking place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. It was one of his hotel’s biggest events, booking over five hundred guest rooms, as well as several conference rooms for check-ins, makeup, hair, and tanning. And it wasn’t just the full house that made the Olympia so profitable. The spa was packed with competitors seeking massages and manicures. The restaurant was jammed with sponsors devouring steaks and martinis.

Despite the Olympia being a boon to business, it was the source of many a headache for Dale. There were screaming matches between the competitors and their significant others, between the competitors and their teammates, between the competitors and the staff—really, just the competitors at the staff. These bodybuilders were a rather high-strung breed. Maybe they just needed carbs?

Then there were the mounds of hotel linens stained orange by spray tan. The smells: perfume layered over body odor spritzed with protein farts. And medical crises, everything from panic attacks to heart palpitations to seizures. The whole hair-raising affair dragged on for six long days.

But if last year’s event had given Dale headaches, this year’s was giving him a full-blown, face-numbing migraine. Earlier today, there was a Fat Activist protest against one of the contest’s main sponsors, REIGN. Somehow, while the police were rounding up the protesters, a few broke loose and went rogue. They were now at large, somewhere in Dale’s hotel. diet culture sluts had been scrawled on a wall in black five-feet-high permanent marker. So, as Dale stood in the bathroom of 651, he figured, why not a flood?

Dale looked at his watch. Tonight’s Finals were about to start. That meant Gemma likely left the water on at least thirty minutes ago. Dale knew from experience that thirty minutes of running water could result in thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. He assured the guest he would take care of the dripping and took the stairs, two at a time, to the seventh floor. By the time he arrived outside 751, he was out of breath and sweating.

That was another thing about this show, it always highlighted how out of shape he was. Just this morning, he found himself in one of the elevators, the stench of Egg McMuffin on his breath, belly hanging over his khakis, standing next to a male Physique competitor. The man’s body fat was so low that the veins on his arms protruded like bloated earthworms after a storm. The man was holding a gallon-size jug of water and dressed in athletic shorts and a tank top, likely on his way to the gym. He eyed Dale’s McDonald’s coffee, laden with artificial creamer, suspiciously. Dale simply nodded good morning and promised himself, yet again, that he was going to start hitting the gym just as soon as this show was over.

Before knocking on 751’s door, Dale took a moment to collect his breath and straighten himself. He tucked in his shirt and smoothed his hair. Wiped his sweaty hands on his pants, leaving faint wet streaks on the fabric. Once righted, he banged on the door. “Hotel maintenance. Open up, please.”

There was no answer. He stood still, listening. He could hear the shower running inside.

Again, he banged. “Hotel maintenance. We’ve had a report of leaking water downstairs.” Again, there was no response.

After a few moments, Dale slipped his master key card from his pocket and ran it across the lock. Three green lights appeared, making a happy, chirpy sound. Dale pushed the door inward.

The beige carpet was saturated. Small currents eddied on top, reflecting light from the open bathroom ahead.

“Hotel maintenance,” he said. Above him, the air conditioner kicked on, making the hair on his forearms stand up.

Slowly, Dale stepped forward, his feet squishing into the carpet. Water worked its way through his shoes and dampened his socks. He continued, putting one soggy foot in front of the other, toward the sound of the running water. As he got closer, something that looked like a yellow ribbon began to snake its way out of the bathroom, floating.

His eyes adjusted, and he realized it wasn’t a ribbon at all, but a hank of blonde hair. It continued its bobbing path, and Dale saw that it ended not in a hunk of human flesh, but in a comb. He had seen enough female competitors carrying ziplock bags of hair around the hotel to recognize it as a hair extension.

“Hello?” Dale asked, his voice now small and hollow. He instinctively knew there would be no reply.

With the back of his neck prickling, Dale continued toward the rectangle of light spilling from the mouth of the bathroom. When there were no steps left to take, he took a deep breath and steeled himself for what was inside.

And there it was. Like he knew it would be. Floating facedown in the tub before him was a body. The back of its head bashed in and matted with blood.

About Author Lori Brand

Lori Brand is a lifting enthusiast, group fitness instructor, yoga teacher, and software quality engineer. In past lives, she’s been a gymnast, dancer, Playboy model, and bodybuilder. Her time in the body wars trenches led to her realization that getting strong, rather than shrinking, is the way out. In an effort to spread the word, she’s had articles published in STRONG Fitness Magazine, T-Nation, Inside Fitness Magazine, D’FYNE Fitness Magazine, and more. Bodies to Die For is her first novel.”


Links to Lori’s websites, blogs, books, #ad etc.:

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/4bXT2oc
Amazon Hardcover: https://amzn.to/4bRxsBA


Special Giveaway: Lori  will gift a print copy (US/Canada) of BODIES TO DIE FOR to one lucky reader who comments on her Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog. Good luck!

Happy Reading!


Thanks, Lori, for sharing your book with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!



7 thoughts on “Karen’s Killer Book Bench: BODIES TO DIE FOR #Psychological #Thriller by Lori Brand”

  1. Wowsers!!
    I had never considered what goes on in the background of “beauty/fitness” competitions let alone setting a murder to it!

    Great excerpt!!

    Thanks Lori and Karen!

  2. Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench, Lori. i am intrigued! I can’t imagine running a hotel holding a convention of this type. I can already see the conflicts. It would be difficult to figure out who the suspects will be. So much angst and drama. Can’t wait to read this one. Thanks for sharing your book with us today!

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