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Race car driver Kate Reilly finds herself in California for multiple reasons. Before she can even begin her official duties, the police ask her to identify a body since her card was in the victim’s pocket. Her hated cousin Billy has been murdered. The police ask her to make inquiries and find out what she can about Billy’s death. Kate agrees since the race organizers and sponsors want her to be sure racing’s name is kept clean.
A week before the Long Beach Grand Prix, Kate is coaching a celebrity driver who will race with other celebrity drivers the following week. Kate enjoys sharing her knowledge with the gorgeous movie star she is paired with. Kate also visits her on the set and finds herself attracted to Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor. The two date and are hounded by paparazzi, with Kate finding her photo in the tabloids the next day. Via her experiences in Hollywood, Kate learns much more about how to handle to paparazzi and national media attention.
Kate also meets up with the FBI agent introduced in the last book – Avoiding Contact – and the two also go out to dinner. On the way to meet him, Kate is driving by the headquarters for Frame Savings, her father’s bank, and in the slow traffic watches a young woman douse herself with gasoline and begin lighting matches. Kate jumps out of her car and knocks them away before the woman can light the gas. As she does, the woman’s sister arrives, explaining to Kate the harassment her sister has put up with while working for Frame Savings only to be fired by the people Kate dislikes most – Billy, cousin Holden, his father, and her father’s brother Edward. Kate’s father is shocked to hear the allegations.
Kate runs into her father often as she goes from Sony Studios to Venice Beach to Rodeo Drive to the Hollywood Hills attending parties, shopping, and being treated to a spa experience. Kate also attends several sponsor meetings where she lines up a continuing contract with Beaute, the breast cancer Research Center, and Frame Savings as well. They sponsor an Indy car test drive, and all are in agreement that she will drive the Indy 500 the next year, followed by NASCAR. Kate is chosen to drive an Indy Lights car this race weekend since the original driver cannot get out of Europe.
Everything coalesces on race weekend as Kate drives the Corvette C7 race car number 28, drives the Indy Lights car, plus coaches her celebrity driver. Outside the track she reveals whom she feels murdered Billy, and soon discovers she was wrong when the actual killer sets their sights on Kate.
I felt this entry in the series was a big step forward for Tammy Kaehler’s writing. I found the multiple plot lines woven together at several venues enhanced the race commentary a great deal. Much of the time Kate was racing or pursuing her career and dreams in racing yet she has a personal life which she trusts the reader to share. RED FLAGS was a greatly enhanced story rounding out Kate’s full life.