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Derailed by Mary Keliikoa is a Mystery and Suspense Event pick #mystery #PI #mustread #giveaway



Title: DERAILED


Author: Mary Keliikoa


Genre: Mystery (Private Eye)


Book Blurb:


PI Kelly Pruett is determined to make it on her own. And juggling clients at her late father’s detective agency, a controlling ex, and caring for a Deaf daughter was never going to be easy. She takes it as a good sign when a letter left by her dad ties into an unsolved case of a young woman struck by a train.

Hunting down the one person who can prove the mysterious death was not just a drunken accident, Kelly discovers this witness is in no condition to talk. And the closer she gets to the truth the longer her list of sleazy suspects with murderous motives grows. Each clue exposes another layer of the victim's steamy double life.


Excerpt:


Chapter 1


Portland, Oregon has as many parts as the human anatomy. Like the body, some are more attractive than others. My father’s P.I. business that I’d inherited was in what many considered the armpit, the northeast, where pickpockets and drug dealers dotted the narrow streets and spray paint tags of bubble-lettered gang signatures striped the concrete. In other words, home. I’m Kelly Pruett and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.


I’d just finished invoicing a client for a skip trace and flicked off the light in the front office my dad and I used to share when a series of taps came from the locked front door. It was three o’clock on a gloomy Friday afternoon. A panhandler looking for a handout or a bathroom was my best guess. Sitting at the desk, I couldn’t tell.


Floyd, my basset hound and the only real man in my life, lifted his droopy eyes to meet mine before flopping his head back down on his bed. No help there.


Another rap, louder this time.


Someone wanted my attention. I retrieved the canister of pepper spray from my purse and opened the door to a woman, her umbrella sheltering her from the late October drizzle. Her angle made it hard to see her face, only the soft curls in her hair and the briefcase hanging from her hand. I slipped the pepper spray into the pocket of my Nike warmup jacket.


“Is Roger Pruett in?” she asked, water droplets splatting the ground.


She hadn’t heard the news and I hadn’t brought myself to update R&K Investigation’s website. I swallowed the lump before it could form and clutch my throat. “No, sorry,” I said. “My dad died earlier this year. I’m his daughter, Kelly.”


“I’m so sorry.” She peered from under the umbrella, her expression pinched. She searched my face for a different answer.


I’d give anything to have one. “What do you need?”


“To hire a P.I. to investigate my daughter’s death. Can you help me?” Her voice cracked.


My stomach fluttered. Process serving, court document searches, and the occasional tedious stakeout had made up the bulk of my fifteen hundred hours of P.I. experience requirement. Not that I wasn’t capable of more. Dad had enjoyed handling cases himself with the plan to train me later. In the year since his death, no one had come knocking, and going through the motions of what I knew how to do well had been hard enough. Now this lady was here for my father’s help. I couldn’t turn her away. I raked my fingers through the top of my shoulder length hair and opened the door. “Come in.”


“Bless you.” She slid her umbrella closed and brushed past me.


After securing the lock, I led her through the small reception area and into my office. A bathroom and another office that substituted for a storage closet were down the long hallway heading to the rear exit. Floyd decided to take interest and lumbered over. With his butt in the air, he stretched at her feet before nearly snuffling my soon-to-be client’s shoe up his nose. She nodded at him before vicious Floyd found his way back to his corner, tail swaying behind him. Guess he approved.


The woman looked in her mid-sixties. She had coiffed hair the color of burnt almonds, high cheekbones, and a prominent nose. She reminded me of my middle school librarian who could get you to shut up with one glance. “Would you like coffee, Ms…?”


“No thank you. It’s Hanson.” She settled in the red vinyl chair across from my dad’s beaten and scarred desk. “Georgette Hanson.”


My skin tingled when she said her name.


“My condolences on your father,” she said.


“Thank you.” Her words were simple, and expected, but her eyes held pain. Having lost her daughter, she clearly could relate.


“How did it happen?” she asked.


I swallowed again. With as many people as I’d had to tell, it should be getting easier. It wasn’t. “Stroke. Were you a former client of my father’s?”


She waved her hand. “Something like that.” She lifted the briefcase to her lap and popped the latch. Her eyes softened. “He was a fine man. You look just like him.”


My confident, broad-shouldered, Welshman father had been quite fit and handsome in his youth. Most of my adult life he’d carried an extra fifty pounds, but that never undermined his strong chin, wise blue eyes, and thick chestnut hair. I’d been blessed with my dad’s eyes and hair and had my mom’s round chin. But since I’d ballooned a couple of sizes while pregnant with Mitz, I knew which version she thought I resembled. “What were you hoping he could do for you with regards to your daughter?”


“Find out why she’s dead.” Georgette shoved a paper dated a few weeks ago onto the desk and snapped the case lid closed. A picture of a young woman with a warm smile, a button nose, and long wavy brunette hair sat below the fold on the front page under the headline: WOMAN STRUCK BY MAX TRAIN DIES.


I winced at the thought of her violent end. “I’m sorry. Such a pretty girl.”


“She was perfect.” Georgette pulled off her gloves, her eyes brimming. “The train destroyed that. Do you know what a train does to a hundred-pound woman?” Her voice trembled.


To avoid envisioning the impact, I replaced it with the smiling face of Mitz, my eight-year-old daughter. Which made it worse. If anything ever happened to her… How Georgette wasn’t a puddle on the Formica eluded me. I took a minute to read the story. According to the article, Brooke Hanson fell from the sidewalk into the path of an oncoming MAX train downtown at Ninth and Morrison Street. The police reported alcohol was a contributing factor. “They detained the sole witness who found her, Jay Nightingale. Why?” I set the paper down.


Georgette brushed her hair away from her forehead flashing nails chewed to the quick.


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):







What makes your featured book a must-read?


An author who read DERAILED said it best:


Mary Keliikoa's DERAILED is a humdinger of a good read. Sharp, detailed writing, a riveting plot and well-drawn characters make it practically unputdownable.


Tracy Clark, author of the award-winning Cass Raines Chicago Mystery Series and the Detective Harriet Foster series.


Giveaway –


Enter to win a $35 Amazon gift card:



Open Internationally.


Runs August 8 – August 21, 2023.


Winner will be drawn on August 22, 2023.



Author Biography:


Eighteen years in the legal field, and an over-active imagination, led Pacific NW native Mary Keliikoa to start writing mystery and suspense. She is the author of the award-winning HIDDEN PIECES, A Misty Pines mystery, the upcoming DEADLY TIDES, the PI Kelly Pruett mystery series including the multi-award nominated DERAILED for best debut, and the upcoming stand-alone Don’t Ask, Don’t Follow out May 2024. She’s also had short stories in Woman’s World and the anthology, Peace, Love, and Crime.


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2 comentários


Rita Wray
Rita Wray
15 de ago. de 2023

I liked the excerpt.

Curtir

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
15 de ago. de 2023

Thank you, Mary, for sharing your book in our Mystery and Suspense Bookish Event!

Curtir
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