Review by Steve Wittich
Kiss The Bricks
A Kate Reilly Mystery
by Tammy Kaehler
Kiss The Bricks, the fifth book in author Tammy Kaehler’s Kate Reilly Mystery series, arrives just in time for the the 2017 Indianapolis 500. After finishing 17th in her first try on the 107 year 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, Kate Reilly and her Beermeier Racing team are back for a second run at the Memorial Day Classic.
Reilly ends up leading the first day of practice, which naturally leads the press to compare Reilly with with P.J. Rodriguez, the first and only other female driver to lead a practice session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After leading the opening day practice in 1987, Rodriguez, who is an up-and-coming Mexican driver, committed suicide only days before the big race.
When fans, bloggers and media start asking Reilly if she plans on committing suicide, she can’t help feeling a connection to her fellow driver. When Rodriguez’s family suggests that P.J.’s death was not a suicide, the amateur sleuth springs into action to help solve the three decade old mystery.
Reilly has the biggest race of her career to prepare for, but with the help of her manager and friend Holly Wilson, boyfriend and FBI agent Ryan Johnston, and biggest cheerleader and grandfather, Gramps, they investigate P.J.’s death. From the practice days, to sponsor events, qualifying, media duties and through the race, the clues continue to fall into place until Reilly is able to put everything together and prove that Rodriguez was murdered as she’s celebrating her excellent result on race day.
Kaehler’s Kate Reilly Mystery Series has found that rare equilibrium of being able to appeal to the millions of mystery fans, while still staying true to the racing fraternity. Kiss The Bricks introduces racing newbies to the sights, sounds and emotions of the Indianapolis 500 without being overwhelming, but also gives those in the racing fraternity enough well researched history, characters, and happenings to keep them engaged. As a “racing insider,” there were certainly a number of times that I grinned in acknowledgment of recognizing a situation or character.
To the credit of the author’s keen sense of history, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the host of the century old annual speed party at the corner of ‘16th and Georgetown’ in Speedway, Ind. known as the “Greatest Spectacle In Racing,” is given the same treatment as the human characters in the book. The Brickyard’s nuanced personality, storied history and colorful characters (past and present) help the strong female protagonist solve a mystery that is close to her heart.
Keeping readers turning pages without putting down their work is the ultimate goal of all Mystery Writers, and Kaehler certainly succeeds with Kiss The Bricks. Kaehler intertwines a believable pool of suspects and realistic scenarios that kept me guessing right up until the murderer was flushed out.
Whether you are a fan of mystery novels, strong female leads, or a racing insider, Kiss The Bricks, which will be released on May 2, 2017, is a must read during the ‘Month of May’.