by Tammy Kaehler
Avoidable Contact: A Kate Reilly Mystery
Poisoned Pen Press (August 1, 2014)
Racecar driver Kate Reilly is suited up and ready for the start of the legendary 24 Hours of Daytona. But what’s ahead will test her will and nerve more than any other endurance race.
Even before the green flag waves over Daytona International Speedway, Kate receives word her boyfriend Stuart is fighting for his life after a hit-and-run earlier in the day. Still reeling from that news, Kate must absorb other shocks in the race’s opening hours, including an on-track accident with tragic consequences and an eyewitness who claims Stuart was run down deliberately by someone from the race paddock.
Alternating stints behind the wheel of her Corvette racecar with stretches of quizzing colleagues and searching for clues, Kate taps every possible source—friend, foe, and family—to find out who’s after Stuart and why. As the race clock counts down to zero hour, Kate must come to terms with her own fears about the past anddecide who she’s willing to trust. Only then can she identify who’s willing to kill to keep a secret buried—and stop them before they lash out again.
I started to read this book without knowing anything about the author’s background. I also did not know that this book was the third in the series. I found that you didn’t need to read the other books in the series before reading this one—this book stands all on its own.
It was clear from the beginning that Tammy Kaehler is an expert in racing and did plenty of research on the topic. As you can see in her bio, she works in the racing world. Her writing style makes you feel like you are right there, in the middle of the action, alongside of the characters. You can actually feel the fast pace and adrenaline rush of the race by her descriptions. She portrays the excitement, stress, worry, anxiety and confusion in such a way that you can’t help but feel what the main characters are feeling.
I will say that I thought there were a lot of characters—though most of them are “walk-ons” and not main characters, which confused me a little in my own forgetful mind, but without having all the characters, I don’t think you can get the feel that a major race is busy, with lots of action, and has lots of people—fans, mechanics, drivers, press, owners, sponsors and the like. So, I think the author accomplished what she set out to do—give you the feel of the excitement of that sort of setting. I learned a lot while reading this book!
The book is suspenseful and I had no clue who the bad guys were until the author’s reveal. I don’t like to give a recap of the book when I do a review because I don’t like to give away any of the good stuff, but I will say that I felt the ending was left open, it left me thinking I wanted to know more—more about Stuart, more about what happens next. Could this have been a cliffhanger for the next book in the series?
If you are interested in racing, or if you are just looking for a fast-paced mystery read, check this one out.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: 4 stars.
Tammy Kaehler’s career in marketing and technical writing landed her in the world of automobile racing, which inspired her with its blend of drama, competition, and friendly people. Mystery fans and racing insiders alike praised the first two Kate Reilly Racing Mysteries, Dead Man’s Switch and Braking Points, and she takes readers back behind the wheel for the third time in Avoidable Contact. Tammy works as a technical writer in the Los Angeles area, where she lives with her husband and many cars.
A Decade of Change
By: Tammy Kaehler
One morning, eleven years ago, I woke up with an idea in my head. A scene, really. No, it didn’t involve Kate Reilly or auto racing, and it wasn’t part of a mystery. It was significant for another reason: it was the first idea for fiction I’d ever had.
I’d been a reader all my life—I think my first memory is of reading a book—and had a career as a writer. But I’d never written fiction (no, bad poetry in high school doesn’t count). I used to say I could write anything, except fiction.
But then I woke up with an idea in my head, and I wrote it down. When the idea wouldn’t go away, I signed up for a writing class. I kept working on the idea, and I signed up for a follow-on class. Then I joined a writing group. I discovered I had a fiction-writing “muscle” and I learned to exercise it. Within a year, I finished a manuscript. A really, really terrible one.
But something else happened while I was teaching myself to write fiction, something equally important: I was introduced to the racing world. As the representative of a company sponsoring a major racing series, I was privy to an insider’s look at top-level auto racing in the United States. And I was enthralled.
That led to another morning, ten years ago, almost to the day, when I had another idea.
I loved reading fiction, especially mysteries. Especially Dick Francis mysteries, which combined fun characters, a clever puzzle, and an inside look at the world of horse racing. I loved stories of personal achievement, especially about women succeeding against the odds or norm. And I (newly) loved the racing world.
All of that was background for my crazy idea: what if I wrote a mystery set in racing, with a female driver as a protagonist?
I threw myself into the admittedly audacious project and started asking questions of the people I met at the track—and I will be eternally grateful that everyone I spoke with answered me. Eighteen months later, I’d completed a first draft. A couple months later, I had an agent. And five years after that, I’d finally found the right editor and publishing home.
Ten years after that first crazy idea, my third book in the Kate Reilly Racing Mystery series has just been released. That’s the obvious change in my life between now and then. I can only begin to catalog the changes that have happened “under the hood.”
Primarily, of course, I’ve learned how to write a mystery—and if I don’t call myself an expert, I at least know that I’m improving and growing with every attempt. I’ve learned I will continue to come up with new ideas, and more importantly, I’ve learned not to panic when it feels like I’m out of them. I’ve learned what I like to do for promotion, what I don’t, and not to waste my time on the latter. I’ve learned mystery readers will enjoy learning about racing and racing fans will read. I’ve learned fans can be gloriously, generously enthusiastic about people and worlds I create in my office.
Most of all, the best lesson I’ve learned—the one I still hug to myself when I see a book with my name on the spine—is this: maybe it wasn’t such a crazy idea I had ten years ago. Either way, it’s been a great ride so far!
Connect With the Tammy:
August 6 –Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Interview, Giveaway
August 7 – Community Bookstop – Review, Giveaway
August 8 – Michele Lynn Seigfried’s Blog – Review, Guest Post
August 8 – Brooke Blogs – Interview, Giveaway
August 9 – readalot blog – Review, Giveaway
August 9 – deal sharing aunt – Interview, Giveaway
August 10 – A Blue Million Books – Guest Post, Giveaway
August 11 – Mystery Playground – Review, Giveaway
August 11 –Cicero’s Children – Interview
August 12 – Mommasez… – Review, Giveaway
August 13 – Back Porchervations – Review, Guest Post
August 14 – fundinmental – Review. Giveaway
August 15 – dru’s book musings – Guest Post, Giveaway