Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

DID NOT FINISH in the Winner's Circle

I'm in deadline hell this week, so I'm ignoring the world. Instead of dead cyber-air, I'm leaving you with some reviews for DID NOT FINISH, which has scored big with the trades: Kirkus, Library Journal and Publishers Weekly. Here's what they said:

"A killer who strikes in the middle of an event makes England’s car-racing circuit even more dangerous than usual.

"Aidy Westlake was orphaned by a car crash—his father and mother drove into a fatal accident on the way home from a race—but that hasn’t kept him from taking the wheel of a Formula Ford. A rookie driver in the middle of a crowded field, Aidy naturally looks up to Alex Fanning, whose performance so far favors him to win the Clark Paints Formula Ford Championship, and can’t imagine why Alex would be prepared to quit the circuit for his fiancée Alison Baker. The race that follows proves to be Alex’s last in more ways than one. Moments after the Ford driven by Derek Deacon, a brutish veteran competitor who’d already threatened to do whatever it took to win, nudged Alex’s car, it crashed and killed him. The other racers, close-knit to a fault, refuse to believe that Deacon bumped Alex on purpose. And the evidence supports them, because video footage of the crash has mysteriously disappeared from all the places most likely to have it, and Det. Len Brennan, of the Wiltshire Police, is obviously protecting Deacon. Aidy is determined to prove Deacon’s guilt, but when he and his only allies, his grandfather Steve and his mechanic Dylan, are threatened, beaten and arrested along with him, his detective work looks like a losing bet.

"Wood (Terminated, 2010, etc.) kicks off this new series with a streamlined narrative, a spot of believable romance and some deftly introduced tidbits about the British racing circuit. Think of Dick Francis’ early thrillers, especially Nerve, but with a lot more horsepower."

Library Journal:
"A third-generation racecar driver, Aidy Westlake might still be a rookie on the course, but his instincts for crime are right on track. He knows bully Derek Deacon threatened rival Alex Fanning the night before the race. Now Alex is dead, and Derek’s car was part of the fatal accident. Aidy is convinced it’s a homicide, and he goes to considerable lengths to avenge Alex’s untimely death, despite rebuffs from the police, race sponsors, and fellow drivers. With his best friend, Dylan, and grandfather Steve on his team, amateur detective Aidy keeps on digging until he manages to endanger those he loves. A breathtaking finale will linger long in readers’ minds. VERDICT Prepare to accelerate with Wood’s (Terminated) new series. His first-person narrative brings you close to the action and ratchets up the personal intensity."

Publishers Weekly:
"At the start of this agreeable first in a new car-racing series from Wood (Terminated), thuggish champion driver Derek Deacon threatens to kill a rival, Alex Fanning. When Fanning dies after Deacon collides with him during a race in a West Country regional championship, the police fail to interview vital witnesses, and authorities rush to label the crash an accident. In addition, someone orders the destruction of the official tape of the fatal race. Outraged, rookie driver Aidy Westlake begins his own investigation. Inexperienced but persistent, he turns up evidence of a criminal conspiracy that puts him and his friends in danger. Wood convincingly portrays Aidy’s awkward efforts at amateur detection as well as his gentle, tentative romance with the dead man’s fiancée, while entertainingly imparting information about the perils and exhilaration of single-seat Formula Ford racing. Dick Francis fans will find a lot to like."

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