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Did Not Finish (An Aidy Westlake Mystery) Hardcover – September 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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. -- Publishers Weekly, September 19, 2011

A killer who strikes in the middle of an event makes England's car-racing circuit even more dangerous than usual. Aiden 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 -- Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2011

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. Partner with Tammy Kaehler's Dead Man's Switch and Steve Ulfelder's Purgatory Chasm -- Library Journal, October 1, 2011

About the Author

Simon Wood is a California transplant from England. He's a former competitive racecar driver, a licensed pilot, an endurance cyclist and an occasional PI. He shares his world with his American wife, Julie. Their lives are dominated by a longhaired dachshund and four cats. He's the Anthony Award winning author of Working Stiffs, Accidents Waiting to Happen, Paying the Piper, Terminated, Asking For Trouble, We All Fall Down and the Aidy Westlake series. His latest thriller is NO SHOW, the first in the Terry Sheffield mysteries. He also write horror under the pen name of Simon Janus. Curious people can learn more at http://www.simonwood.net. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: An Aidy Westlake Mystery (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Crème de la Crime (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780290071
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780290072
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,506,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Wood is a California transplant from England. He's a former competitive racecar driver, a licensed pilot, an endurance cyclist, an animal rescuer and an occasional PI. He shares his world with his American wife, Julie. Their lives are dominated by a longhaired dachshund and four cats. He's the Anthony Award winning author of Working Stiffs, Accidents Waiting to Happen, Paying the Piper, Terminated, Asking For Trouble, We All Fall Down and the Aidy Westlake series. His current thriller is THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY. He also writes horror under the pen name of Simon Janus. Curious people can learn more at http://www.simonwood.net.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I have read Simon Wood's other books and have enjoyed them. I saw that this one was about car racing, so I held off reading it. I finally decided to read it! Wow, I am sorry I waited to read it. This was really a good story, very enjoyable characters, and really hard to put down. The book does cover car racing in England, but it is much more a mystery with lots of action and suspense. This is a great start to a new series and Aidy Westlake is a very interesting and likeable character, along with his grandfather and best friend. The bad guys are very nasty characters that you love to hate. I highly recommend that if you like good mysteries with lots of action and suspense, then get this one now! Now I can't wait for the next in the series to come out!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ellie's Reads on November 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When I cracked this book open (figuratively--think Kindle) I knew nothing about British motor racing or racing in general. I didn't know anything about engines or pit crews. But I know a good book when I read one, and a good writer can interest me in almost any subject. This book is a terrific thriller, well written, fast paced, and incredibly descriptive without being bogged down in technical detail. Aidy is a grand lead character and the kind of guy you wish you could meet in person and share a coffee. His background story, key to who he is, makes him even more interesting and engaging. And I love his sidekicks, who are such an important part of Aidy's life and the tale itself.

In addition to all the adventurous plot twists in Did Not Finish, and there are many, I'd have to say the suspense scene three-quarters into the story is one of the most breathtaking I've ever come across. To say more would be a spoiler. But wow!

It's my understanding the author is a former race car driver himself, and I can see how that experiences enhances the storytelling. I wish I had better words to say what I mean here as I've never thought to say this about an author before, but Simon Woods's writing is extremely complete; he can describe scenes or characters well and thoroughly, using a lot of words without there being too many. I have the sense that when he writes all the words come out in the right order, and I'm not left wanting anything except another story. So I bought Hot Seat, the sequel, right after I finished. Hoping for more Aidy, and soon.

Finally, I have read that Kirkus Reviews compared this book to British thriller author Dick Francis's book, Nerve. If you like Dick Francis--and he's one of my favorites--I submit that you'll like Simon Wood. (And if you have never heard of Dick Francis, I think you'll still like Simon Wood.) Enjoy!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Knobby on February 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Wow.

Another incredible story from master storyteller Simon Wood.

The story opens with Derek Deacon threatening to kill his main rival Alex Fanning. The threat is heard by all and when Alex is killed in a collision with Derek a couple of hours later, everyone wonders if it was an accident or murder.

Disappointed with how quickly the police declare it a tragic accident and fail to fully investigate or interview witnesses, rookie driver Aidy Westlake decides to carry out his own investigation.

Although clearly intelligent, Aidy quickly finds there's a lot more to investigating crime than he thought. He is drawn ever deeper into the sinister and dangerous world of organised crime.

Time and again, Aidy finds his line of investigation leading to a dead end.

When he discovers someone has tampered with his own vehicle, Aidy is able to eliminate a a large number of suspects.

He knows that he will be risking his life, but has the perfect opportunity to discover who killed Alex Fanning.....

An early novel from Simon Wood, recently re-released on Kindle. The author's considerable experience and knowledge of motor racing is beautifully conveyed, resulting in a truly magnificent crime thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end.

I'm looking forward to reading Hot Seat very soon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nancy L. Silk, Author/Reviewer on April 6, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
This is the first book in this series, a mystery set in the sport of speed racing in England. It's as fast paced as the cars on the track! Aidy Westlake is a young race car driver. His pit crew consists of friend Dylan and his grandfather, Steve. Steve is the brainiac as he's been involved in racing since the mid-sixties. Alex Fanning and Derek Deacon are vying for the West Country Regional Championship. Derek is going to extremes trying to win his 10th championship. Aidy wasn't too concerned about who will win. His standing is 6th and his engine needs a total overall. Besides, he's out of cash, using up all his sponsor's money. The night before the race all the teams meet and socialize sharing fruit juice or soft drinks. Any consumption of alcohol could prevent their opportunity to race the next day. The after-the-race party will be a whole lot different. Anyway, rumors are going around that Derek is going to perform some mischief on the track to prevent Alex from winning. It wouldn't be the first time for this big, tough guy. It's rumored that Derek also has connections to organized crime. Then, the day of the race, Alex crashes with Derek's car and is killed. There is no evidence of murder ... only an accident inquiry. Aidy believes it is murder. He explains to his granddad, Steve, the injustice of the police declaring it a mishap and closing the case. Steve agrees with Aidy's strong feelings and, along with Dylan, they plan to build a case and present facts to the police. This mystery is well written, exciting, and be careful speeding around the curves that author Simon Wood throws at you. It's a thrill ride with lots of twists and turns. This story is wonderfully crafted, and I'm ready to read "Hot Seat" the second book in this series.
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