~ BLOG TOUR STOP ~
-- 'DERAILED' --
AUTHOR MARY KELIIKOA
~Post Includes: Book Spotlight,
Character Interview, Excerpt,
Author Bio & Giveaway~
Author Bio & Giveaway~
Derailed (A Kelly Pruett Mystery) by Mary Keliikoa
Derailed (A Kelly Pruett Mystery) Mystery/Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Publisher: Epicenter Press (May 12, 2020)
Paperback: 232 pages ISBN-10: 1603817069 ISBN-13: 978-1603817066 Digital ASIN: B084XX4C9D
A dying wish. A secret world. Can this grieving investigator stay on the right track?
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.
Can Kelly pinpoint the murderer, or is she on the fast track to disaster? If you like intricate family dynamics, secrets, including plot twists and turns, then this story is for you. DERAILED is the first book in the Kelly Pruett Mystery series.
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.”
~ Character Interview
with PI Kelly Pruett ~
with PI Kelly Pruett ~
June: Welcome to Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic, Kelly. Glad you could stop by to spend a few moments with us chatting about your job and personal life.
June: What type of education, training, and/or licensing were you required to complete before becoming a private investigator?
Kelly: Thank you for having me! In the State of Oregon, I’m required to complete 1500 hours of training. That can be a combination of things from classes to on-the-job. But I’m also required to be bonded and insured and I have to pass a proficiency test. There’s also some yearly continuing ed requirements too.
My dad was my mentor, which meant that most of my training came from him. At least in theory. Until I took on my first case, I really hadn’t done a lot of actual investigating.
June: Did you always want to be a PI or did you fall into the profession because it was your father's dream that you join him in his agency?
Kelly: I really loved being around my dad. He was so good at what he did, and helped so many people. Wherever he was, I wanted to be. And that included working in his offices as a kid and then definitely, wanting to be a PI.
I’m not sure it was his dream that I actually follow him into the investigative work, despite his promises that he’d train me. He kept me protected, running to the courthouse, serving documents and the occasional stakeout. Unfortunately, he died before I did get that full training and that posed a steep learning curve when I took on my first case.
June: What is the most interesting aspect of your job? On the flip side, what is the most tedious aspect of your job? Are there any duties you loathe?
Kelly: Well chasing down a murder suspect has definitely been the most interesting. Although I do love searching through social media. People like to brag, and that’s helped me find right where people are and what they’re doing. The annoying part of being a PI is that people are always lying to me though, and I’m constantly trying to figure out what’s real and what’s not.
Stake outs rank as most tedious. But Floyd, my cohort, and the only real man in my life, keeps me company. So we muddle through.
I think handing documents to some wife beater counts as the most loathsome task, however, mostly because it’s hard to contain myself when I meet someone like that.
June: What are your career goals for the future? Do you envision making a commitment to continue working as a PI for the next few years? If you don't wish to continue in this dangerous line of work, what other job(s) might you seek?
Kelly: I’ve been helping my dad for so long, I don’t know what else I’d do if I wasn’t doing PI work. I will admit there are a few times that being a coffee barista has crossed my mind because, well, coffee foremost, but also a bit safer. But I have a feeling I’d be bouncing off the walls in no time. And I’m simply not built mentally or physically for a long-term desk job. In answer—yes, I think I’m going to stick to being a PI.
June: Tell us about some fun things you and your daughter do to unwind together. What are your personal hobbies, if you have any time to spare away from the office?
Kelly: I have to admit I am a workaholic and have not been much of a hobby person. But Mitz definitely helps me get out of my working rut. A Saturday night cuddled on the couch watching a movie of her choice and a bowl of popcorn is one of our favorite activities. We also love the Oregon Zoo.
In truth, I’ve spent much of my life doing for other people. First taking care of my dad after my mom died, then being a wife to the boy next door, and with Mitz being deaf getting her set up for success in the world. With my dad gone now, and my divorce final and shared custody with Mitz, for the first time I’m finding out who I am and what I want. I have a feeling it’s going to be a process, but I’m ready for the ride.
Mary Keliikoa spent the first 18 years of her adult life working around lawyers. Combining her love of all things legal and books, she creates a twisting mystery where justice prevails. She has had a short story published in Woman’s World and is the author of the PI Kelly Pruett Mystery Series.
At home in Washington, she enjoys spending time with her family and her writing companions/fur-kids. When not at home, you can find Mary on a beach on the Big Island where she and her husband recharge. But even under the palm trees and blazing sun she’s plotting her next murder—novel that is.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Keliikoa/e/B084Y77521
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mary-keliikoa Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20038534.Mary_Keliikoa
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