Header image

“I am the car and the car is me.” Martin Warwick in Tenths of a Second an audio short story by Simon Wood

Racers know that racing is a slippery slope of talent, speed, technology and for the up and coming racer sponsorship money (to buy the technology to create the speed to showcase the talent). It’s a sport where, to up-and-coming drivers, tenths of a second can mean the difference between hoisting a trophy in victory lane and having to scrounge around for the money to get to the track for the next race with equipment that may or may not be competitive enough to garner you with anything more than an “also ran” performance.

This is extremely evident to Martin Warwick, protagonist in Tenths of a Second, and driver in the open wheel Formula Ford racing series (yes it’s a real racing series- here is the Formula Fords wiki page if you are curious). He knows he has what it takes to make it as a professional driver but his equipment isn’t of the quality that can get him a performance that will showcase his driving talents. That is until the mysterious Mr. Mallory shows up in Martin’s garage stall at a race with an intriguing offer. While Mallory doesn’t have the much needed sponsorship money Martin’s hoping for, he has an experimental telemetry system that governs the car and driver. Mallory assures that utilizing his system will get Martin the type of performance that will turn heads and have sponsors throwing money his way. Martin signs up with Mallory deciding that he might as well give the developmental system a go because even if it’s a total flop at least it will get him a much needed engine rebuild and testing time at a track before the next race.

“Success was my nourishment, friend, lover and soul mate.” Martin Warwick in Tenths of a Second an audio short story by Simon Wood

As a result of his partnership with Mallory, Martin quickly finds him self on the fast track to the career as a professional racer that he has been yearning for. The question is at what cost will those precious tenths of a second come and is it worth it for Martin?

Tenths of a Second is an audio short story by Simon Wood.  Let me assure you that there is nothing usual about this story and it’s telling. I will be the first to admit that I don’t tend towards audio books at all because I find if I am not engaged with the actual reading of something my mind wanders and I lose interest. THIS WAS NOT THE CASE with this story (and I have even downloaded a second audio short by Simon but haven’t listened to it yet).  At first Tenths of a Second is like pulling up a chair and reminiscing with a friend as he tells his story, but with plot twists (that not be divulged here but trust me) that Simon Wood does so well.  I highly recommend this short (it’s about 40 minutes by my computer) audio story! Order Tenths of a Second today- it is well worth the $1.50- trust me!!

Simon Wood probably sounds familiar- I have reviewed his Aidy Westlake Racing Mysteries novels Did Not Finish and Hot Seat for BadGroove as well as interviewed the author himself.  Simon is a prolific author, ex-professional race car driver, and a licensed pilot. You can find out more about Simon and his books on his website.

The Race: Living Life On Track

 

 

The old adage never judge a book by it’s cover could have been coined in regards to this book.  Based on the cover alone, the average NASCAR fan might pick this book up thinking it’s a biography of Darrell Waltrip. They might expect to be regaled with great behind-the-scenes tales from his years racing in NASCAR’s premier racing series. They would get this in some respects but do not be fooled. The Race: Living Life On Track by Froman, Mauldin and Waltrip is NOT about Darrell Waltrip as much as it’s a story of Motor Racing Outreach (MRO) who ministers and guides those in the NASCAR community. And while indeed it contains many anecdotal stories from the track it’s more about how they assist those in the racing community win the race of life though faith.

The authors of The Race are three-time NASCAR Champion Darrell Waltrip, Kyle Froman (Director of Development for Motor Racing Outreach) and Billy Mauldin (the President and CEO of Motor Racing Outreach. Each chapter of the book has a theme on how this can be done and includes relative stories from the track but also relevant bible verse and personal experience from each of the three authors with the theme and it’s lesson for the race of life.  These stories make the book easy to relate to for race fans on an individual level while continuing to relate back to the NASCAR community as a whole.  Also in each of the chapters the three authors take on the themes with personal revelations from the track and their respective lives in general. At first I thought this style produced a disjointed text but either I got use to the format or it cunningly pulls together the further you are into the book.

This book is for the Christian NASCAR fan looking for guidance on incorporating faith into many aspects of their everyday life.

The Race: Living Life On Track is available at amazon.

For more information on the book and it’s authors visit: B&H Publishing Group

Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed by John F. Ross available now at Amazon and other retailers.

 

“Racing appealed on a level far more deeply satisfying than fame and money; besides the pure adrenaline rush, it gave him an outlet for taking control and conquering life’s uncertainties.” John F. Ross, Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed.

It’s been awhile since I read anything- especially anything I could use for an installment of “Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List” but finally here it is! In this installment I am reviewing John F. Ross’s biography Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed. Chances are you are having one of two reactions to the title.  One reaction might be “Who?”   The other thought might be something along the lines of “World War One ace fighter pilot.”  The second thought was what came into my head when I was asked if I would like a copy of this novel to review for my readers to the point I nearly turned it down. Luckily the words Indy 500 caught my eye and I thought- heck I will give it read.

I am glad I did.  My dad is an aviation buff so I was familiar with the name Eddie Rickenbacker in that sense; ace pilot of World War I. But that is about all I really knew about him- that he flew biplanes in World War I.  I am going to be honest- when in school I was never a huge fan of history. All those dates and names and places. But this book brings this era that we learned about in school to life for me with it’s words in a way that has never been done before.  About the excitement and the constant changing of the industrial revolution and as the author calls it the “Age of Speed”. The book is very full of descriptive prose that make you feel like you are reading a novel instead of a biography. (more…)

If you’ve been reading for awhile- you know that I reviewed author the first two books in Simon Wood’s racing thriller series here on BadGroove a couple months ago. As I mentioned in the review, I rather enjoyed both DID NOT FINISH and HOT SEAT and expanded out to Simon’s other “non racing” books.  I am excited that Simon was kind enough to answer some questions for me for BadGroove. So without further adieu:

BG: Did you always want to be a writer? Did you have a proclivity towards writing as a child?

Simon: No, not at all.  I’m dyslexic so I avoided the written word like the plague.  I wanted to draw.  I was a daydreamer coming up with stories but I didn’t begin writing until I was thirty.

BG: Your bio mentions you are a sometimes private investigator. How did you get into private investigation work?

Simon: When I moved to the US, I couldn’t get a job.  My wife and I were living pretty close to the breadline so we were looking to supplement our income so we responded to an ad to become mystery shoppers.  We “shopped” cinemas, electronic stores, fast food joints, etc.  We did well enough that we kept being bumped up the food chain moving to restaurants, to hotels and to finally casinos.  Once we started working in Vegas, we had to get PI licenses.

BG: Does being a “sometimes private investigator” help with being a writer- especially in the suspense/thriller genre?

Simon: To be honest, most of the work was pretty sedate and detail oriented.  The only thing we did have to do was come up with a lot of cover stories as we were undercover a lot of time.  The best thing about the job is all the people watching I got to do.

BG: Who are a couple of your favorite authors and/or books?

Simon: I’m a big Reginald Hill & Raymond Chandler fan.  But I would say my biggest influence is Hitchcock.  He understood human frailty and he liked to poke it with a stick and I like that.

Simon’s books DID NOT FINISH and HOT SEAT are the first two installments that follow Aidy Westlake, a young racer with a pension for finding trouble. Since Simon is an ex-race car driver I wondered how his experience factored into the personality of Aidy.

BG: Did you always want to be a racer? How did you get into it? (more…)

Dad was a purist. His interest began and ended with formula cars. Me, I was more like my racing hero, Jim Clark. He was a double Formula One champion, but he’d driven everything- sports cars, saloon cars, NASCAR and even rally cars. While my dream was to reach Formula One, I’d drive anything.” Hot Seat by Simon Wood.

I was introduced to Simon Wood’s books by association. I posted reviews for Tammy Kaehler’s Kate Reilly Racing books earlier this year (Dead Man’s Switch and Braking Points).  Tammy also blogs about motorsports over at Two For The Road- a blog she shares with Simon Wood (who is a former race car driver) and it was reading this blog that made me look up Simon’s books (he has quite a few books- but so far there are just the two in the Aidy Westlake Mystery series- which are racing related so that was logically where I started).

(more…)

I have been holding back on the review for The Afterlife of Emerson Tang by Paula Champa so that I could purposely publish it this week.  Why? Because it’s Car Week here on the Monterey Peninsula which culminates with our world famous Concours d’Elegance and part of this book actually takes place at Concours. So it’s kind of a local car thing  that is kind of relevant to me and relevant to the blog because it’s about the love of a car- (but that is FAR too simple of a way to describe this book- which I will get to in a minute). This book is NOT NASCAR related- nor is it really even race related- but it is about the love of a very special car and has local tie ins so I had to review it for you. (more…)

The Race by Gina Fava

The Race by Gina Fava

When books get offered up to me to read and review for my readers here at BadGroove- I do it with trepidation because everyone has books that are their “type” and books that aren’t their taste.  I realize that just because I enjoyed delving into that particular author’s world doesn’t mean you will.   I do try to keep the books that I do review at least loosely related to racing of some sort- whether that be fiction or non-fiction- since that is the main focus of BadGroove.   When I agreed to review THE RACE by Gina Fava- I did so with my usual reserve, knowing only that the book’s main character was an F1 driver and well the title was THE RACE so…it sounded like something I might like to read.

The first thing I did when I got it is that I read the back jacket- which as most do gives an overview of the plot of the book (I will be giving you my own soon).  I will tell you this- if I had been browsing at a bookstore (something- unfortunately I do much less than I would like because there aren’t really any bookstores around here- isn’t that sad?) I would most likely NOT have picked up this book. Judging by the synopsis on the jacket I had already decided that this book was probably NOT my thing and thus was going to be a chore to read- and likely review.  However, since I had already promised a review and I didn’t really have anything else to read- I decided to give it a start and let me tell you I AM SO GLAD I DID! Lesson learned: Not only can you not judge a book by it’s cover- but sometimes not by it’s synopsis either. Or maybe I enjoyed reading this particular book because it was a little bit different than what I usually read. Either way- I think you will enjoy this book. (more…)

Mobil 2 GM UAW Corvette from the American Le Mans Series race at Laguna Seca in 2012. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

Plenty of us were racecar drivers. But a racer was something else, someone who loved driving and competing above all else and who’d drive anything anywhere anytime, just to be strapped into a five-point harness.Dead Man’s Switch by Tammy Kaehler (page 116).

You may remember that last week I reviewed the novel Braking Points- the mystery novel that takes place in the ALMS (American Le Mans Series) racing series by Tammy Kaehler.  As I mentioned in my review Braking Points is actually the second book in the Kate Reilly (Kate Reilly is the main character and race car driver) Racing Series by Kaehler and since I liked Braking Points so much of course I had to pick up the first book in the series: Dead Man’s Switch. (more…)