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Avoidable Contact by Tammy Kaehler

I have been a fan of Tammy Kaehler’s since the publication of her first Kate Reilly Mystery, “Dead Man’s Switch” in 2011.  “Avoidable Contact” is the third novel in this series, and the best yet.  In the course of the first three novels Kate has grown from a rookie who lacks confidence and credibility at times to a mature, respected race car driver capable of pouring on the speed to support her team  and able to put together the clues of a murder mystery with equal finesse.

In “Avoidable Contact” Kate must ignore the fact that her love interest, Stuart, is seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident shortly before the start of the Daytona 24 hour race so that she can concentrate on her role as one of the three drivers for one of her team’s Corvette cars.   In between the adrenaline rush of racing Kate and her friend Holly nose around Pit Row trying to help the police discover clues to who purposely ran down Stuart.  A tragedy on the tracks appears to also be suspicious and may be related to Stuart’s attack.

The racing circuit provides a perfect venue for the thrills and chills of a first class mystery.  The action is naturally fast-paced and dangerous.  The race car drivers and the people who hang around them have big, interesting personalities that make for lots of descriptive color in the book.  Story arcs are also quite naturally segmented around the routines required to drive, relax and gear up again for the next shift behind the wheel.

As a reader I felt as if I had a Pit Row pass and was following Kate’s every move both on and off the race track.

Kate Reilly fans will love the addition to the series with “Avoidable Contact” and the series is bound to make many new fans with this book.

Liz Nichols

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Breaking Points by Tammy Kaehler

Breaking Points” is the second in the Kate Reilly Racing Mystery series about a woman Le Mans class race driver trying to make it in a decidedly man’s sport.

The action starts at the Road America track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, moves on to Road Atlanta in Braselton, GA where the reader gets a pit-side and even driver-side account of racing at two exciting venues on the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) tour.  As one might expect, the action is fast-paced and it offers no special dispensations for the women on the tour.  The reader gets a realistic look at the daily life of a race car driver, including the work to entertain and promote the products of sponsors, attending charity events, handling the fans both online and at the track, practicing and qualifying for races, and, of course, the race day action. The plot explores the question about whether women are tough enough and competent enough drivers to compete as race car drivers.  An accident that is partly caused by Kate in the Elkhart Lake race brings criticism from many in the racing community to Kate.  Through smart, managed PR and the support of her team and competitors, she weathers the storm and goes on to help her team win a high ranking for the year overall.

Through it all, Kate helps the police in Elkhart and in Georgia determine who poisoned one of Kate’s best friends, and who then also knocks off a misogynistic sports reporter Kate initially suspects as her friend’s killer.  Was the poison initially meant for Kate? Did the real killer murder the male chauvinist reporter to frame Kate? She does receive some initial attention from the cops as a possible suspect, but she quickly redeems herself by helping to uncover the real killer, or killers– and nearly gets knocked off herself a couple of times.

Breaking Points” is fast-paced, entertaining, and descriptive.  Kate Reilly is a complex and very likeable character who shows her character flaws as well as her strengths and talent, and learns by her mistakes.

Liz Nichols

(Reviewed from a supplied copy. Published in April 2013.)


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