Another racetrack, another murder for a driver who’d rather be racing than sleuthing.
Kate Reilly has a busy schedule at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. Her racing prospects have been improved by her new sponsor, Frame Savings, a bank owned by her largely estranged family, which has chosen to finance her activities and give her a chance to break into IndyCar and possibly NASCAR. Raised by her grandparents, Kate has only recently met her father, James Hightower Reilly, the only member of her newfound family who’s nice to her. A dead body with her business card in its pocket turns out to be that of her cousin Billy Reilly-Stinson, who, with his father, Edward, and cousin Holden Sherain, has been particularly hateful to her. It’s lucky that she can produce an alibi when Edward accuses her of killing Billy. Although Kate would love to ignore the murder and concentrate on driving and coaching movie star Maddie Theabo for a celebrity race, Grand Prix owner Nikki Gray and race president Don Kessberg beg her to solve the crime. Reality star Nikki is wealthy and smarter than she looks, even if she was having an affair with the much younger Billy. Kate must also deal with FBI agent Ryan Johnston, who may be investigating the racing crowd and who’s interested enough in Kate to ask for a date. Also asked out by a movie-star heartthrob, Kate, living the high life in Hollywood, tries to understand her father’s wobbly support as she does her best to impress the IndyCar team she’s testing with. Despite her attempts to ignore the murder, she’s dragged into situations that may make her the next victim.
In the fourth in this character-driven series, Kaehler (Avoidable Contact, 2014, etc.) complements its exploration of Kate’s problems and triumphs with a better mystery and plenty of suspects you love to hate.