Kate Reilly- full time race driver, part time sleuth, hopes for a drama free May as she prepares for her second Indianapolis 500. As usual, drama finds her. She sets fast time on the first day of practice, duplicating the accomplishment of another female driver thirty years ago. That driver, P.J Rodriguez, died before Pole Day in a mysterious fall from the roof of her downtown hotel. Rodrigueaz’s family asks Kate to help them find out if her death was suicide or murder?
Kiss the Bricks is the fifth book in Tammy Kaehler’s Kate Reilly Racing Mystery series. Usually Reilly drives sports cars, but moves to the Indycar series for this adventure.
The first third of the book alternates between the present day and May of 1987. We learn of the events that lead to P. J.’s death and how Kate gets involved in attempting to find out what happened. P. J.’s family tells Kate their suspicions and asks for Kate’s help. Her reputation as an amateur sleuth precedes her.
With the help of her grandfather and her PR rep, Kate sets about identifying suspects and motives. They come to the chilling conclusion the culprit may be someone very close to her own race team. The answer becomes clear after the race as activity at the track slowly winds down.
Another complication for Kate is an envelope her grandfather gives her early in the month. He explains it makes clear some family issues that Kate needs to know. He requests she not open it until after the race, so she can focus on the most important event of the year. She resists the temptation to open a few times.
I found this book fun to read. It presents a great look at what a driver’s May is like off the track as well as on it. May seems incredibly busy with media appearances, sponsor meet and greets, and oh yeah, prepping for the 500. I was most impressed by the author’s portrayal of how isolated the drivers are while in the car. Each driver is focused on his/her car and his/her performance, and only mentions others when they do something that might interfere with the team’s plan. Drivers rely on their spotters and crew chiefs to know what is happening in the race.
This is only the second Kate Reilly book I’ve read, and I will be reading the others. Kaehler writes great racing stories with a murder mystery thrown in. Her books are available on Amazon.