Monday, August 1, 2011

"Dead Man's Switch"

Before trying her hand at fiction, Tammy Kaehler established a career writing marketing materials, feature articles, executive speeches, and technical documentation. A fateful stint in corporate hospitality introduced her to the racing world, which inspired the first Kate Reilly racing mystery. Kaehler works as a technical writer in the Los Angeles area, where she lives with her husband and many cars.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Dead Man’s Switch, the debut Kate Reilly racing mystery, and reported the following:
Page 69 represents the whole of Dead Man’s Switch quite well, as it puts the reader behind the wheel of a Corvette racecar for the first time with my racecar-driver protagonist, Kate Reilly. At the start of the book, Kate’s looking for her first job in a top-tier racing series when she stumbles over a dead driver. She takes his job just hours later, and suspicion in his murder (naturally) falls on her as a major beneficiary of his death. In addition to having to solve the murder to maintain her good name, she has to prepare to race a car she’s only slightly familiar with on a track she doesn’t know at all … with only 30 minutes track time to get literally up to speed before the green flag falls.

On page 69, Kate completes her first and second laps of the Lime Rock Park racetrack. It’s a good example of the racing scenes in the book, as well as of the balance I tried to strike between the experience of being in Kate’s head and body (Dead Man’s Switch is told in the first-person) and the technical details of racing and racecars. There’s even a hint of the danger Kate will face, both on- and off-track….
130 this time. Getting closer to Mike’s estimates. Then I took the final turn—shit! The car wiggled as I hit the bump Mike had warned me about. I didn’t react fast enough and the car swung to the left. Left wheels running in the dirt and grass. Tire barrier on my left, angling in as the grass verge narrowed. Closer. I eased right with the wheel, trying not to brake too hard, let off the throttle too suddenly, or jerk to the right. Easy. More throttle, ease right. Wheels back on track. Shift to sixth. Main straight. Speed: 148. Flying now. Bumpy. Breathe, Kate.
Learn more about the book and author at Tammy Kaehler's website and blog.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue