Do Not Avoid Avoidable Contact by Tammy Kaehler

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Avoidable ContactBook Review: 

Avoidable Contact  (A Kate Reilly Mystery)

Tammy Kaehler

Poisoned Pen Press

296 pages Genre: Mystery

Kate Reilly, racecar driver and coincidental sleuth, is back in Tammy Kaehler’s third book in the series. Avoidable Contact is set in Florida, during the “24 Hours of Daytona” race that combines drivers from NASCAR and American Le Mans Series (ALMS). They are driving prototypes and custom cars like the Corvettes that Kate’s team drives. The race also allows drivers that are not exactly professional drivers, but have qualified and won enough other races to participate in this one.

Before Kate hits the track, her boyfriend Stuart is critically injured by a hit and run driver. He is in surgery, with a small chance of survival so his role of the Series Vice President of Operations has to be covered by a couple of shady characters so the race can go on. Kate decides she will do her stints in the race because she cannot do anything other than win for Stuart.

To add to her distress, her estranged birth father, whom she just met at the end of the second book of the series, has his racing team there to compete also. Her obnoxious cousins as well as half-sister are also there, which add another layer of distraction for Kate. She is not comfortable around her family in any situation, and is worried they might be part of the illegal activities that are going on.

As the race gets going, Kate learns that Stuart’s hit and run might not have been an accident, and it could be someone from the Series that attempted to kill him. Stuart’s condition,  as well as rumors of bribes, send Kate into a race with time to find the guilty person before the enod of the car race. She may have to team up with an unlikely ally to get the job done.

Like the 24-hour race, this book is paced a bit slower than the last in the series. The drivers, drive competitively throughout the race, but do not kick it into overdrive until the last few hours because the drivers and cars have to last for the entire race. Because the book was only set at the racetrack, it did not have the change of setting or the lapse of time to add interest. I suspect someone more into racing than I am would have enjoyed the details of the race more.

What I loved was the way Kaehler added text messages instead of dialog or phone calls in places that were appropriate. This mixed it up a bit to add interest and it really worked for me. The last few chapters, like the race it was about, were fast paced and nail biting. The action on and off the track is roars to a conclusion as the checkered flag is waved.

I liked Avoidable Contact; there are plenty of suspects in cars and around the pits to keep the mystery lover in me guessing until the last chapters.

Copyright © 2014 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

Book Review: Braking Points by Tammy Kaehler

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Braking Points

Tammy Kaehler

Poisoned Pen Press

ISBN-978-1-4642-0099-1

291 pages

Reviewed by Laura Hartman

Genre: Mystery

Tammy Kaehler takes her readers along for a ride with her gutsy racecar driver Kate Reilly. Braking Points is the second in the Kate Reilly Mystery series following Dead Man’s Switch. The book moves at breakneck speed with excitement at every turn.

American Le Mans Series (ALMS) driver Kate Reilly accepts her role as a woman in a male dominated world. She takes her driving seriously and is committed to proving wrong those that think a woman can’t compete as a driver. An error in driving judgment causes an accident between Kate and a popular NASCAR driver Miles Hanson. Fully admitting he was equally at fault for the accident doesn’t keep his fans and a mean spirited blogger, The Ringer, from ripping Kate to shreds in person and online.

To add to her worries, the press has jumped on the Kate hating bandwagon. She hires a publicity firm, which helps, but Kate seems unable to put the brakes on her mouth, which does not help her situation at all.

Irritation turns to fear when a friend ends up dead after a race. Was she the target or did the killer really mean to stop Kate? Then someone tries to run her down. Is it a crazed fan? Is it someone closer to her? Could it be The Ringer, who seems to know intimate details of her life? Kate is frightened, but determined not to let fear stop her from racing in the championship race.

Braking Points was a fun read. I am not much of a race car fan, but really love the rumble, speed and excitement of fast cars. Kaehler pulls the reader  into the car with Kate by giving them a turn by turn view from the driver’s seat. Racing is much more than jumping in a car and hitting the gas. The little facts about racing that followers of the sport undoubtedly know intrigued me.

This is a solid mystery with as many twists and turns as a racetrack. The plot weaves on and off the road in a complex pattern that comes to a screeching conclusion in the last few pages.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review. Copyright © 2013 Laura Hartman

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