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Book Author: Mary Keliikoa

DENIED by Mary Keliikoa: Book Review

Like father, like daughter?  Kelly Pruett’s father had been a private investigator, and since his death she has continued to run his one-person agency.  Her previous case left her with a gunshot wound to her arm, but she’s determined to keep R & K Investigations going.

In Denied, Kelly is approached by an old friend, Stephanie Burnotas.  Actually, the two were best friends all through school, in and out of each other’s houses, but then time and circumstances drove them apart.  Now Stephanie wants to hire Kelly to find her missing father.

She explains to Kelly that there had been a rift with her father and that she hadn’t spoken to him since Thanksgiving, six months earlier.  But now she’s pregnant with her first child, and she says she wants to make things right between them.

“I hated him sometimes but loved him.  Know what I mean?” she asks Kelly.  And Kelly knows only too well, having learned some very surprising things about her own father.   It’s too late to do anything about her situation now, so she’s eager to help clear up things for her friend.

That, of course, proves easier to say than to do.  Vince Burnotas was a man with a quick temper who had held a variety of semi-skilled jobs, none for long.  He apparently didn’t have any close friends, and his neighbors rarely saw him.  So although Kelly reassures her friend that he probably came into some money and is “sipping a margarita in Mexico” right now, she’s not sure she believes her own words.

Having obtained the key to Vince’s house, Kelly begins going through his scant belongings when she’s assailed by a foul odor.  Looking around the kitchen, she locates the garbage pail; in it is a single bloody finger.

As if that were not bad enough, the door to the house suddenly swings open and a furious woman enters.  She tells Kelly that she’s Vince’s girlfriend Marilyn, that Vince had left her stranded at a bar several weeks earlier and she’s been looking for him ever since.  When Kelly asks her about Vince’s gambling, as evidenced by the numerous gaming tickets strewn around the living room, Marilyn responds that he gambled “more than any person should.”  And judging by the many times he’d asked Marilyn for rent and gambling money, he wasn’t often a winner.

In the midst of the investigation, Vince’s car and his body are found, and Kelly identifies the corpse.  Although the police think that the car falling over a cliff was suspicious, Kelly feels they may not be putting enough time or manpower into the case.  She can’t leave Stephanie without a definite answer, so her search continues.

Kelly Pruett is an exciting new heroine, a young woman who may be a bit over her head working as a private investigator but is giving it all she has.  If hard work and perseverance can solve this crime, Kelly will solve it.  This is the second book in the series, and I hope for many more.

You can read more about Mary Keliikoa at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden Oldies, Past Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.