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Thea Kozak #3

Death at the Wheel

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Thea Kozak is back in Kate Flora's third novel as the heroine tries to find out about a horrific accident at the local auto race track. From crooked rednecks to suspicious bank frauds, meddling relatives, and psychotic ex-lovers, Thea faces some hard prospects.

318 pages, Hardcover

First published November 1, 1996

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About the author

Kate Flora

58 books109 followers
Kate Flora grew up on a chicken farm in Maine where the Friday afternoon trip to the library was the high point of her week. She dreamed of being able to create the kind of compelling, enchanting worlds of the books she disappeared into every week, but growing up in the era when “help wanted” ads were still sex-segregated, she felt her calling was to go to law school and get the job they told her she couldn’t have.

After law school, Kate worked in the Maine attorney general’s office, protecting battered kids, chasing deadbeat dads, and representing the Human Rights Commission. Those years taught her all a crime writer needs to know about the human propensity to commit horrible acts. After some years in private practice, she decided to give writing a serious try when she quit the law to stay at home for a few years with her young sons. That ‘serious try’ led to ten tenacious and hellacious years in the unpublished writer’s corner, followed, finally, by the sale of her Thea Kozak series.

Kate’s eighteen books will include eight Thea Kozak mysteries, five gritty Joe Burgess police procedurals, a suspense thriller (written under the name Katharine Clark), two true crime books, Death Dealer and Finding Amy (co-written with Joseph Loughlin, a Portland, Maine Deputy Police Chief), a Maine game warden's memoir, A Good Man with a Dog, co-written with Roger Guay, and a book about police shootings from the police point of view, Shots Fired: The misunderstandings, misconceptions, and myths about police shootings, co-written with Joseph K. Loughlin. Finding Amy was a 2007 Edgar nominee as well as a Maine Literary Award finalist, and has been optioned for a movie. Kate’s award-winning short stories have been widely anthologized and Redemption and And Grant You Peace, her third and fourth Joe Burgess mysteries, won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction.

Flora's fiction, nonfiction, and short fiction have been finalists for the Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, and Derringer Awards.

She is a founding member of the New England Crime Bake, the region's annual mystery conference, and the Maine Crime Wave. With two other crime writers, she started founded Level Best Books, where she worked as an editor and publisher for seven years. She served a term as international president of Sisters in Crime, an organization founded to promote awareness of women writers’ contributions to the mystery field. Currently, she teaches writing and does manuscript critiques for Grub Street in Boston.

She has two sons (one into film and the other into photovoltaics) two lovely daughters-in-law, an adorable eight-year-old grandson and five granddogs, Frances, Otis, Harvey, Oscar, and Daisy. When not conducting research for her novels and nonfiction—research that includes riding an ATV through the Canadian woods or hiding in a tick-infested field waiting to be found by search and rescue dogs—Kate can often be found in her garden, waging war against the woodchucks and her husband’s lawnmower, or in the kitchen, devising clever and devious ways to get the men in her life to eat their vegetables.

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5 stars
89 (40%)
4 stars
86 (39%)
3 stars
33 (15%)
2 stars
7 (3%)
1 star
3 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews
Profile Image for Mandy Walkden-Brown.
554 reviews30 followers
July 14, 2017
An okay read, but it was a touch too easy to work out who the murderer was. And Thea did some rather lacking in common sense things. Didn't care for her family either. It was actually rather hard to find someone to like amongst all the characters and I didn't feel connected to any of them. Even reread the book after an interval, just to make sure. Nope, still couldn't connect and some of Thea's choices seemed even more questionable the second time around.

The writing itself is of good quality and I would certainly look at other books by this author. Perhaps it was just that this particular book and I weren't very compatible.

I received a free e-copy of this book from the author via eBook Discovery for review purposes.
148 reviews
May 23, 2021
Thea Kozak is always the go-to- person. Her mother's constant interfering, Suzanne, her partner in business tells Thea stop getting involved, and everyone else in a predicament seeks her help.

Thea is only a consultant but excellent at her job. She has a sleuth-sixth sense, when meeting a person for the first time. Her father, a lawyer taught her well. Thea's past haunts her at times. She lost her husband, David in a terrible car accident. It's her inner nurturing gift that compells Thea to help others.

Julie Bass, a frail, petite, but attractive woman is married to Calvin Bass. He recently died horribly in a auto-racing accident. Cal is arrogant, out of control obsessive, and gained many enemies for that reason.

This is book 3, in the Thea Kozak Series. The author's writing captivates you on the first page. And keeps the reader entertained with action flowing to the last page.
I received this book for free from ebook discovery. I voluntarily post this review. This is my honest review.
Profile Image for Mary.
557 reviews
November 4, 2017
Yes, I did read until 2 a.m. because I just couldn’t leave the fray. Good friends pulling together, getting through the unthinkable. I LOVE this series.
A race car “accident” — tampering. Mother’s friend and fellow volunteer accused, and Mom says Thea must fix it, as always, with no appreciation, just criticism.
“ . . . a girl who can’t say no. Women learn how to say no.”
“I always have my keys ready when I cross a parking lot at night. That’s just good sense. It shouldn't be that way . .”
“ . . . the only sure thing is life is change”
“There was something profoundly erotic about being wanted not just for sex but for a merging of genes and the creation of a whole new generation.”
“Be careful.” “I’ve got to go there.” . . . and they did.
Profile Image for Trimaze.
115 reviews2 followers
February 8, 2019
Thea Kozak, the main character in this mystery series is not a professional detective or even a police officer but she somehow always seems to get involved in the investigation of someone’s murder. In the first book of the series, she solved the murder of her sister. In the second book it’s the murder of her friends mother. In this third book of the series she gets involved in the the “accidental death”/murder of the husband of an acquaintance of her mother’s.

Each book in the series builds on he previous book. There are numerous family problems and relationships are put to the test.

I am enjoying this series and I do like the characters. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.

“I received this book from eBook Discovery. I voluntarily review this book. This is my honest review.”
7,344 reviews24 followers
May 15, 2019
Easter, the plant one is to bring, and dinner at one’s parents.instead of a walk on the beach and a good book. They had invited someone Julie and her two little girls. Her husband a week ago died in a car accident.My family persist that Thea will fix it, and no privacy within the family either. Knowing that her mother and Thea both saw Carrie in Julie, broken and needing help. To find out her husband was not well liked. Thought he was arrogant,
and pigheaded, now saying someone killed him.
Thea’s mother was too much, and one wonders when Thea will stand up for herself. Have the set so hope the next one isn’t such a downer.
Profile Image for Nancy Noble.
352 reviews2 followers
July 24, 2020
This was a fun read for riding the ferry - light and entertaining. Some of the dialogue, especially between Andre and Thea, seemed a bit corny and silly, but overall an interesting story with good characters. Love the interaction between Thea and her mom, and that story line there. I usually try to read books in order, but I had come across this copy somewhere, so it was the first book I read by Kate Flora. I may want to read some of her other books in the series, especially the first and second (in order, this time around!)
100 reviews
May 20, 2021
I admit that I finished this book long after I started, due to some personal distractions. Still, if a book has any kind of hold on me, that simply would not happen. Much as I respect this author and enjoy her writing, this left so little impression on me that I am not even interested in analyzing the outcome.

“I received this book for free from eBook Discovery. I voluntarily review this book. This is my honest review.”
Profile Image for Evonne Hutton.
1,342 reviews9 followers
January 10, 2019
Kate Flora rocks!! This was one book I am glad I read. The mystery just kept on becoming more complex. Good story line and characters well defined. I look forward to reading more from the same author.
I received a copy of this book from eBook Discovery in exchange for my honest review.
988 reviews15 followers
January 13, 2019
This is a well written story with great characters and a good flow of action. The plot has a few things that are not very plausible, but it's still good and entertaining.
I received this book for free from eBook Discovery. I voluntarily post this review. This is my honest review.
Profile Image for Hanna.
28 reviews
May 8, 2021
Unfortunately read this first book and would recommend starting the series from the beginning as numerous things in thea's past are alluded to. I liked the characters though and the plot had many twists and turns. The ending wrapped up a bit too neatly for my liking though.
211 reviews7 followers
February 7, 2019
Yet another rollicking mystery. I couldn’t put it down. I received a copy of this book from eBook Discovery. I am voluntarily reviewing this book. This is my honest review.
16 reviews
January 4, 2023

I love this series. I have read the first three and can't wait to start the next one. I hope there will be many more if they're all as good as the first three.
June 29, 2022
Kozak reigns

Another wonderful thinking person’s mystery! No weird science fiction…no unnecessary and improbable harum scarum babble…just a well written mystery! Recommend it!
Profile Image for Jen.
991 reviews54 followers
April 30, 2009
So...I'm taking a writing class with the author, and read the book during this time, so my review is a bit tainted with that knowledge, and is a bit haphazard.

First of all, I didn't realize that this was the third in the series. It wasn't until I neared the end that I noticed this. During the reading, I had some questions that weren't answered, and I think it's because there's background that was set up in the first two books. Blurbs on the cover compare Thea (the main character) to Sue Grafton's Kinsey, and I can see the resemblance, but Grafton does a nice job of outlining the basics so you can pick up anywhere in the series without needed to read them all in order.

Second, I loved the fact that the main character isn't actually a private detective. She's more of an accidental detective, which is a nice twist in the genre. However, since I started in the middle, I'm not sure exactly how she started on the path of solving murders.

Third, it feels a little awkward to read sex scenes when I know the author!

Fourth, I had NO idea whodunnit, and that's awesome.

Fifth, I'm happy to read another because I'd like to know the background of the characters. Wish I'd started with the first. However, I'm REALLY excited to read a new series set in Portland, Maine.

Sixth, since the crime drama genre is packed with characters, I don't know that this series stands out any differently from others, but it is well written, has funny bits that don't force the humor (like Evanovich), and is set near Boston. So I liked it.

Profile Image for Ann.
1,505 reviews
December 30, 2012
Thea is an educational consultant, an occupation which doesn't immediately bring to mind a rough and tumble private
eye character -- but she manages to get a lot of action in her 'spare time' The running story line has her in a partnership with a close friend, running their own business consulting and advising schools, her somewhat dysfunctional family interfering with her life, she has some close friends on the police force including a pretty yummy boyfriend and she is a stubborn investigator who won't give up even when she is placing herself in bodily harm.
To put the Flora books in context, if you enjoy Barbara Seranella's Munch Mancini character, Martha Lawrence's Elizabeth Chase, Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles, Katy Munger's Casey Jones, Lise McClendon's Alix Thorssen, Sinclair Browning's Trade Ellis and Elizabeth Cosins' Zen Moses, you'll like Thea Kozak.
Profile Image for Michelle.
661 reviews5 followers
May 13, 2021
Another winner in the Thea Kozak mystery series! Over Easter dinner Thea’s mother guilts her into an investigation for a young mother who reminds them both of Thea’s dead sister. Even through her own misgivings she starts to dig to try and help this seemingly helpless young woman. She then finds herself in one dangerous situation after another not quite realizing how it all comes about. Meanwhile her professional life which she comes to rely on may now be in danger of dissolution and she wavers in commitment to Andre even though she loves him dearly. Events come to a shocking head but you’ll have to read to discover the solution. You won’t be disappointed!!
I received this book for free from eBook Discovery. I voluntarily review this book. This is my honest review.
Profile Image for MaryN.
66 reviews
September 28, 2016

This book was missing every fourth or fifth page! The story is written at a fourth grade level and sad to say it's boring. I'm sorry I bought the series base on other reviews! Shame on me for not checking further and only buying one book first. Oh well lesson learned. But the missing pages were not my fault and I should get a refund! You can't hear what you can't read on a completely blank pageAnt deal T the wheel
Profile Image for Nikki.
1,939 reviews55 followers
January 20, 2008
Thea Kozak investigates what at first appears to have been a freak auto accident, but turns out to be murder, with many fascinating and repellent ramifications.
Profile Image for Missy.
1,804 reviews28 followers
March 6, 2012
Book #9 read in 2012

Normally, I really enjoy Thea's spunk, but I found myself getting annoyed by her thoughtless, risky behavior. I do, however, enjoy the secondary characters in Thea's life.
Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews

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