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I remember a "Choose Your Own Adventure"-style novel whose title I cannot remember. I read it sometime between 2010 and 2016 (throwing darts at a memory board). It is an English title, and I believe it was a paperback with a red car on the cover. It had a few black and white line images, I believe, but was otherwise text. Second-person narration seems most likely from what I recall.

It starts off as a race in the Italian Alps, with you and your (female?) partner barely reaching a checkpoint in time. A man at a desk writes down some stuff and waves you off next. A good portion of the book revolves around finishing the race.

Another portion of the plot involves choices that lead to your kidnapping, you being the son of a wealthy figure. Escaping/evading capture makes up another major portion of the book. One possible way you get captured is a scruffy man offering to "go on a walk" with you, and you don't refuse because of his gun holster announcing itself silently.

A possible match is Behind the Wheel by R. A. Montgomery, but I do not own a copy to check if the details match my memory.

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  • Was the book colourful and picture-heavy? I had a bunch of Usborne Puzzle Adventure books back in the day, which this description vaguely reminds me of, but they weren't written in the second person. When you say "you" in the question, is that definitely second-person narration, or could it be a third-person protagonist of the story?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Mar 5, 2023 at 20:44
  • @Randal'Thor Added those details. Looking at further details of the mentioned "Behind the Wheel", I found the detail " Or do you snoop for clues in a stolen briefcase?" on Amazon", which strikes me memory strongly as another part of the plot. So I belive I may have already found the book, but I am not totally sure. Mar 5, 2023 at 20:51
  • Have a look at the Goodreads reviews here (they often have more detail than official plot summaries, although less formally written). It doesn't seem to match what you describe? (Uncle Raoul rather than a female partner?)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Mar 5, 2023 at 20:55
  • @Randal'Thor Thanks for that. This is bingo, from the details the reviews mention. Mar 5, 2023 at 20:58
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    You can check out a copy at archive.org/details/behindwheel0000mont_m8b6. There are a few references to kidnapping, e.g., "“Your cousin Hubert tells me that you come from an enormously wealthy family. They may be planning to kidnap you. Who knows?” Bernard turns to his two companions and speaks to them in rapid Parisian French that is almost too fast for you to understand. Then he turns back to you." Mar 6, 2023 at 13:46

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Following up from prior comments, you may very well be remembering Behind the Wheel by R.A. Montgomery.

Front cover of Behind the Wheel Front cover of Behind the Wheel

You're driving a prize race car in the biggest road race in Europe. As the day approaches you're offered a lot of money to lose. You've got to get away from these people, but how?

From the book:

This summer there will be re-creations of two famous European races: the Alpine Rally, and the premier Grand Prix event called the Niirburgring.

....

You round the final turns of the steep section of the road with ease. Marie-Lise counts off the seconds as you approach the checkpoint at the top of the mountain. “Slow down, there it is!” she shouts.

Three men with clipboards stand by a small folding table. They peer at your number, and one notes it on his sheet.

"Two seconds early. Well done— no penalty," one man announces. "Carry on."

....

“Your cousin Hubert tells me that you come from an enormously wealthy family. They may be planning to kidnap you. Who knows?” Bernard turns to his two companions and speaks to them in rapid Parisian French that is almost too fast for you to understand. Then he turns back to you.

....

"Going somewhere, my young friend?" comes a voice. The speaker is a man with unruly blond hair. It looks like a wig, but you're not sure. Your attention is drawn to his left foot. The heel on the boot is thicker than the other foot.

"Just for a walk," you reply.

"I think you had better come with me," he says as you notice a small black revolver in his right hand. He does not smile. Suddenly the fog clears. He is the man on the moped you saw in Paris! But did that even happen? Or was it all a dream? The gun, however, is real enough.

Image of the man pointing the gun at you

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