by Terrance V. Mc Arthur
This week we have a great auto racing mystery novel by Tammy Kaehler, a video interview with her from Left Coast Crime & a chance to win a copy of the book!
Dead Man’s Switch, a high-octane racing mystery by Tammy Kaehler, was nominated for the Eureka! Award (best first mystery novel) at this year’s Left Coast Crime convention, but it didn’t win, and I want to know why this fast-paced book didn’t grab the checkered flag!
Kate Reilly is trying to get her break in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) circuit, in the footsteps of such female racing legends as Janet Guthrie, Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney, and Danica Patrick, so she carries her racing gear everywhere she goes. When she stumbles across the body of Wade Becker, the aggressive, not-well-liked driver she had gotten into a shouting-fest with the night before, it’s not a surprise that she is considered a suspect. Because of her previous work with the racing team, it’s also not a surprise that she finds herself behind the wheel of the dead man’s racing Corvette, and that the rumor mill goes into high gear, accusing her of sleeping her way to the top and murder.
The plot takes its turns at high speed, accelerating through the clues and jockeying for position during the confrontations. Details of the racing-circuit life give the green-flag go-ahead to the suspension of disbelief, the characters give spark to the complications, and the track sequences conjure up the tangy taste of high-test fuel and the smell of burning rubber.
For a first-time novelist, Kaehler plants the clues well and widely, but not too shallowly. It takes some thought to solve this mystery. Is it the driver whose extra-marital affairs Wade exposed? Could it be the driver Wade threatened? How about the sponsor with the trophy wife who cries a lot over Wade’s death? And…what about the mysterious mechanical problems that have been plaguing the ALMS races?
This book looks like it’s the pace car for a series of Kate Reilly mysteries, taking her across the country, following the circuit. I think Kaehler has made a running, Le Mans-style start for a trophy-grabbing series.
By the way, Tammy Kaehler can tap-dance and do a backbend. Take that, Agatha Christie!
Video Interview With Tammy:
To enter to win a copy of Dead Man’s Switch, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Switch”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 9, 2012. U.S. residents only.