Denied (A Kelly Pruett Mystery)
by Mary Keliikoa

About Denied

Denied (A Kelly Pruett Mystery)
Cozy Mystery/Woman Sleuth
2nd in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Camel Press (May 11, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 226 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1603817832
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1603817837
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08V3G2Z73

A high-risk pregnancy. A dangerous secret. When her case turns deadly, can this investigator avoid racking up a fatal debt?

Despite her injuries, PI Kelly Pruett is eager to get back to work. So when a mommy-to-be hires her to locate her estranged dad, Kelly is thankful for the straightforward missing-persons case. But as she rummages through his trash in search of clues, she uncovers gambling debts to gangsters… and a blood-soaked severed finger.

With her investigation no longer cut-and-dried, Kelly’s hunt takes a deadly turn when her quarry is found driven off a cliff to his doom. And she’ll need more than her cop boyfriend’s help to expose the truth when the mob sends her a cease-and-desist notice with an explosive ending.

Can the determined detective take on the mafia and make it out alive?


About Mary Keliikoa

Mary Keliikoa is the author of the Shamus finalist and Lefty, Agatha and Anthony award nominated PI Kelly Pruett mystery series and the upcoming Misty Pines mystery series featuring Portland homicide detective turned small town sheriff slated for release in September 2022. Her short stories have appeared in Woman’s World and in the anthology Peace, Love and Crime: Crime Fiction Inspired by Music of the ‘60s. A Pacific NW native, she spent a part of her life working around lawyers. Combining her love of legal and books, she creates a twisting mystery where justice prevails.

When not in Washington, you can find Mary on the beach in Hawaii where she and her husband recharge. But even under the palm trees and blazing sun, she’s plotting her next murder—novel that is.

Q&A With The Author

When did you first consider yourself to be a writer? 

It didn’t happen right away! In fact, my first thoughts when I started was I wondered if I could be a writer at all. 

I was in my late twenties when I began writing with a friend. We were working on a mystery novel together, and I had this desire that came alive in me at that time to go into my office each day and work on the novel. It took us nearly a year to finish the book, but even after seeing those 300 plus pages in front of me, I wouldn’t have defined myself as a writer yet. 

That came after I started on the second book, this time on my own. It was during that process that I realized how excited I was to still go back into that office and put words on the page. Whether I ever got published or not, it didn’t matter. Writing became a part of me and my routine, and that’s when I defined myself as a writer. I’ve never felt different since.

What advice do you have for a new writer? 

Write. Don’t let anyone tell you what to write, how to write, or where to write. Just write for the love of it, for the joy, for the things you will learn about yourself. Now if you want to be published, then learn your craft, buy books, meet people, take classes, and write some more because that’s how you get better.  

What is the easiest part of the writing process for you? 

Showing up to write is absolutely the easiest part of the process. As I mentioned, I love to write and I look forward to my time to do that every morning. I guard my time and I let very few things take me off course. Now when I get there, the writing doesn’t always flow right away. But it’s just knowing that I will have carved out that piece of time just for me and my creative process is enough. 

What is your favorite part of this story?

The relationship between my main character, Kelly, and her ex-mother-in-law, Arlene is among my favorite parts of this story. In the first book, it’s clear that they have different views on what it is to be a working PI and a mother. In DENIED, there is a lot of growth and acknowledgement of what they mean to each other and I loved that emotional heart of the story that developed. 

Which Character was the most fun to write about? Why? 

I am a dog person through and through, so writing Floyd is always fun for me. I particularly enjoyed writing him in DENIED because I gave him a more active role this time. Not that he isn’t always Kelly’s sounding board and confidant, but this time he puts his nose to the ground to help out—which was right up his alley as a Basset hound!

Which Character was the hardest to write about? Why?

Kelly’s ex-mother-in-law was my favorite and my hardest part to write. Finding that balance of not coming across too opinionated and judgmental, and finding that temperance of why she has such concern for Kelly. Arlene has her own backstory of what she felt she had to do as a woman, and that has driven her opinions of Kelly. But finding that balance, and the emotional truth to her actions, was sometimes difficult. But ultimately why I do find her to be one of my favorite characters.

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  1. This sounds like a great read.

  2. This is a new author to me, sounds like a good book.

  3. Sounds like a riveting mystery that will keep the reader turning pages furiously until the end.


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