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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: Derailed by Mary Keliikoa

PI Kelly Pruett’s father left her two things… his investigative agency, and a message that said if Georgette Hanson ever came to her for help, she should give it, no questions asked. Less than a year after her father’s death, Kelly’s making her way mainly as a process server, just scraping by. So when Georgette turns up with a check for $3,000 and a request to look into her daughter’s death, Kelly’s not just putting food on the table for herself and her Deaf daughter Mitz, she’s fulfilling her father’s dying request.

Brooke Hanson’s case proves a tough one to crack, though, leading Kelly into some unexpected corners of Portland’s underworld, including a peek into high-end BDSM clientele Brooke worked with, and gradually Kelly begins to realise there are some powerful people who don’t want anyone looking into Brooke’s death. People who’ve already killed once… and then another body turns up.

This is very well written, and the author avoids falling into the traps which can come with writing about BDSM as an outsider. Kelly’s not part of the lifestyle and isn’t interested in participating, but she does her best not to judge, accepting people’s right to choose what they do in their private lives, and BDSM practitioners aren’t vilified - indeed, they are mainly the victims in this story, something that’s quite representative of the realities of the lifestyle. I also really liked Kelly’s relationship with her Deaf daughter, though I thought her judgemental ex who apparently wanted her to sit at home like a good little housewife needed a good slap upside the head.

First in a new series, this has the potential to turn into something really good. Kelly’s an excellent and sympathetic character with an intriguing cast of side characters around her. I’ll be interested to see where the series goes from here. Five stars for an excellent mystery novel with an exciting new heroine.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via the publisher.

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