Derailed by (A Kelly Pruett Mystery #1) by Mary Keliikoa

‘Portland, Oregon has as many parts as the human anatomy.’

Meet Kelly Pruett, the ‘K’ of ‘R & K Investigation’. The ‘R’ is her dad, Roger. He died earlier in the year, but Kelly hasn’t been able to bring herself to update the website. When Georgette Hanson turns up wanting to engage Roger to investigate her daughter’s death, Kelly can’t turn her away. Even though Kelly has mainly done process serving, court document searches and the occasional stakeout, she knows she’s capable of more. Besides, Kelly recognises the name. Her dad had left a request that if Georgette Hanson should ever ask for help, Kelly should assist her and not ask why.

Kelly is divorced. A single mother juggling parental responsibility for a deaf daughter, trying not to rely on her ex-husband. The money Georgette offers is twice what Kelly can make in a month of process serving.

Georgette’s daughter Brooke was killed by a train. The police have closed the case: they believe that she fell off the sidewalk into the path of the train, and that alcohol was a factor. There was one witness. Georgette doesn’t believe that it was an accident.

Told in the first person, we are with Kelly every step of the way. And in between investigating the case, Kelly has to juggle domestic responsibilities including a controlling ex-husband and a concerned ex mother-in-law (who just happens to live next door). It’s dangerous work.

There’s plenty of action: not all of Kelly’s actions are sound. There are a few twists, one of which jarred. But it didn’t stop me reading. Brooke had a complicated life, and the more Kelly investigates the longer the list of people with a motive to kill her becomes. And Kelly herself is at risk. How will it end?

This is the first novel in a planned series, and I’ll be interested to see how Ms Keliikoa develops the character, and what Ms Pruett’s next case will be.

Note: My thanks to Meryl Moss Media for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith