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“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.

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).

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