Race car driver Kate Reilly is back in author Tammy Kaehler’s 3rd book in the Kate Reilly mystery series Avoidable Contact. I can’t tell you how excited I was to get my hands on Avoidable Contact. I’ve read Kaehler’s first two books of the series (Deadman’s Switch and Braking Points) and I thoroughly enjoyed them both so I knew I was in for quite the ride. I was definitely not disappointed.
“All the crap going on in the outside world can’t stop me from doing what I do best: kicking butt on the racetrack.” pg 238, Avoidable Contact by Tammy Kaehler
In Avoidable Contact, our protagonist Kate is driving one of the Sandham Swift team Corvettes in the famed 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race. The book opens with Kate Reilly standing on a very crowded pit road amid the chaos and crowds that is pre-race. With less than an hour until the green flag, Kate spots two police detectives “with their serious faces on” heading her way flanked by the second in charge of operations fro the newly formed United SportsCar Championship series (USCC). It immediately concerns her and well it should. They are there to tell her that her boyfriend Stuart was involved in a hit-and-run accident outside the speedway that morning and is in serious condition at a nearby hospital fighting for his life. Stuart is in charge of operations for the USCC and it doesn’t make sense to Kate that he would even be outside the track an hour before the start of the race. Pushing that aside, Kate decides that Stuart wouldn’t want her to not drive in the race when the only thing she could do in the hospital for him is sit in the waiting room. Kate is determined to press on in spite of what is going on at the hospital blocks away and decides to concentrate on the race and her car and in between her driving stints she can watch for updates on Stuart and help in the search for who ran Stuart down and why. She pushes Stuart and the rumors floating around the track as far out of her mind as she can and concentrates on driving- except during her first stint on the track Kate witnesses a terrifying on track incident that heaves her and the entire USCC racing community shaken to the core. Kate can only wonder if the on track incident is related to Stuart’s pre-race accident and if that was the case who was their next target?
The thing that I adore most about the Kate Reilly Mysteries is Kate herself. She is a very real character- and while she is spunky she still has those human moments and flaws that we all have and that makes her very real to me. She is not a crime fighting machine in the guise of a race car driver- she just happens to usually be in the wrong place at the right time and the drive to see things though. While Kate is a female driver in a male dominated sport (although not really- as Kate isn’t the only female driver) readers aren’t continually hit over the head with the fact that she is a female. Kate doesn’t see her self as a female race car driver- but as a racer and that’s it. Kate Reilly is a multifaceted character that I can identify with on a personal level. She is the reason that I love these books. I also love that Kaehler actually incorporates a real racing series right down to the recent creation of the United SportsCar Championship Series created when the American Le Mans Series and the Rolex Sports Car Series merged back in 2013.
What unfolds over the course of the race is a gripping tale with more turns than the road course at Daytona. I am not going to go any further into plot of Avoidable Contact because I want you to enjoy it as untainted by spoilers as possible. But I will say that of the three Kate Reilly Mysteries- Avoidable Contact has moved into first place as my favorite! Readers get to see parts of Kate’s life we haven’t seen before. And I will say this: expect to be left craving book 4 and to be saying things out loud like “Urg! But what happens next?!” after you turn that last page.
Author Tammy Kaehler is a technical writer in the Los Angeles area. To go along with the release of her third Kate Reilly Mystery, Tammy Kaehler has been blogging about some of the research she did for Avoidable Contact. These blog posts are a perfect companion to the book: Avoidable Contact – The Backstory, Avoidable Contact- Racing Into The Night, Avoidable Contact- My Sleep Research, and Avoidable Contact- Daytona’s Checkered Flag. They give you just a little bit of insight on what kind of research goes into a book like this plus are just fun race experiences and you KNOW how I like those since I write them for BadGroove. Pick up a copy of Avoidable Contact today- I really think you will love it! I certainly did.
For disclosure an advanced readers copy of Avoidable Contact was supplied for review purposes- but I would have had it queued up in my kindle pre-order queue if it hadn’t because I LOVE this series!