Kate Reilly can’t remember a worse time in her life, on track or off. She wrecks her race car at Road America in Wisconsin, sending a visiting NASCAR star to the hospital, and loses her cool on camera, only to end the day by discovering her boyfriend with a friend of hers - a now-dead friend.
With little time to grieve, Kate finds herself the pariah of the racing world and the target of vicious e-mail messages, death threats, and a frenzy of blame on racing sites and blogs, including that of an influential, anonymous blogger who’s trying to get her fired. But nothing is as bad as knowing her friend’s killer is still out there - and now aiming at her.
She’s riding a roller coaster of emotion, juggling an exciting new sponsor, a boyfriend she’s not sure she can trust, and newfound family she doesn’t want to claim. Dodging unfavorable media attention and a pit reporter with a bias against women in racing, Kate redeems herself at the next race by delivering stunning performances behind the wheel at Petit Le Mans, the 10-hour endurance classic.
During the championship race weekend, undercurrents of threats from all sides rev Kate’s nerves to their limits. From races to sponsor parties and awards banquet, she stays on top of the action - and a step ahead of the murderer - seeking motives, uncovering secrets, and pinpointing powerful ambitions. Ultimately she learns that no one can escape the past - but only a murderer is driven by it.
It is abundantly clear that Tammy Kaehler has done her homework when following auto race driver Kate Reilly. Kate relishes her team’s role racing Corvettes, but during a practice session at Road America, she tangles with a popular NASCAR driver landing him in the hospital. Kate ends up the butt of nasty e-mails, threatening blog posts, and intimidating broadcasts of her performance.
Next she arrives in Atlanta to train for the ten-hour Petit Le Mans race with her fellow drivers and team. She is excited to meet and catch up with two women with whom she spent her early racing career. One leaves for a moment, and when she doesn’t return, Kate goes to look for her only to find her dead body in the parking lot. Police determine the drink Kate had ordered which her friend actually drank contained a drug which caused a fatal reaction. Kate is devastated and wonders who, of all the people being nasty to her, is trying to kill her.
After hiring a publicity firm to handle the worst of the bullying, Kate cherishes her private role with a cancer survivor charity. She is angered when her involvement is shared with the press who focus on her racing persona, detracting from the charity. A car almost runs Kate down, but she escapes any physical injury. She was spending the day being pampered and receiving instruction from the cosmetics company for whom she is now a spokesperson. Kate learns she can accent her feminine appearance without diminishing her racing profile.
Kate’s estranged father has been hanging around the track, getting in snippets of conversation around Kate’s functions. She isn’t making it hard for him to reach her, but she sure isn’t making it easy. She has little desire to be involved in his life, yet he wants to introduce his family and involve her in their activities since they are all benefactors of a family trust. Kate meets some family at nearby Chateau Elan only to find they are brats and bullies of a different kind.
Kate is riding a stream of emotions that keep her juggling her responses to the nasty retorts of a race blogger who does not like women in the driver’s seat to the new sponsor who welcomes her into their fold to her new boyfriend Stuart whom she is not sure she can trust. She finds herself grieving her friend in snatches between the many activities leading up to race day.
Kate’s driving presents as bare bones streaming, a silent monologue of the actions needed in each spot on the track. Under Kate’s helmet, her focus is solely on the driving task at hand. She barely exits the driver’s seat when the world crowds in again -- a fan with access to pit road, reporters angling for the best photos and interviews, sponsors and team owners looking for excellent results. Kate is able to take her excellent starting position to a stunning finish.