Death by Carbs by Paige Nick (first published in 2015 by N&B Books).

Most South Africans have an opinion about the infamous HFLC lifestyle (high fat, low carb) Banting diet craze. Led by controversial Professor Tim Noakes, his book and diet plan the Real Meal Revolution has sold over 200 000 copies since it was originally published in 2013. It has become an instant weightloss sensation. It is even a verb for goodness sake!

Of course, it’s had its fans and its cynics: on the one hand you have those who preach about its life-changing results (mainly loss of excess weight and an increase in energy), while others spit in the face of its advice calling it a fad that promotes unhealthy consumption of large amounts of fat.

Sunday Times columnist Paige Nick has written a delightful novel which pokes fun at this entire phenomenon. Death by Carbs is a refreshingly witty read with an exceptionally written bunch of characters. They represent all possible affected parties of this diet craze: the fans, the internet trolls and those most likely to benefit from the death of Noakes himself.  

Yes, the story starts with an investigation into Prof Noakes death, a possible murder.

Donut-loving Detective September is on the case; and it’s going to be a doozy. The suspects? There’s the Real Meal co-authors who are constantly struggling for power, the crazed Facebook Banting fans sharing their struggles and successes online, the ex-publisher (who might have a slight drinking problem) who turned down Noakes bestseller, the CEO of SnackCorp who is beyond desperate as profit margins hit rock-bottom; and many more delightful players that all seem to have some sort of motive.

You will fly through this novel, not just because it’s so short, but because it’s captivating. Brief chapters of 2 to 3 pages each keep you on your toes as you “check-in” with all the possible suspects. Nick is my kind of author: undeniably brilliant at writing satire.

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