Denied by Mary Keliikoa

Title: Denied (Kelly Pruett #2)

Author: Mary Keliikoa

Published on: 11 May 2021

Genre: Mystery and Thriller

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Stephanie, Kelly’s schoolmate hires her to locate her estranged father. Vince and Stephanie had a fight on Thanksgiving day and they weren’t on talking terms since then. Six months later, Stephanie is heavily pregnant and wants to make amends with her father. But for the past one month, her calls are going unanswered. A complaint to the local cops went nowhere as nobody was sure if Vince is away on work or really missing. Kelly decides to investigate. She reaches Vince’s house and finds stubs from the local gambling center. (Bowling center and such).

As she enters the kitchen, she’s hit by waft of something sweet yet rotten. She finds a severed finger in the garbage bin. She immediately calls Detective Kuni and the evidence is taken in for a fingerprint testing. Days later, a car is pulled out of the local river – and there’s a body in the driver’s seat. Vince. Kelly must now retrace Vince’s steps in order to find out what lead to his tragic death.

Denied is the second book in Mary Keliikoa’s Kelly Pruett Mystery series. I read the first book – Derailed – last year and was eagerly waiting to see what’s next for Kelly. I must say, it was worth the wait. Denied is a fantastic addition to the series.


What I love the most about this series is Kelly juggling between the roles of a mother and a private investigator. Kelly’s eight-year-old daughter Mitz is deaf. Kelly’s husband and Jeff have been divorced for two years now – he had a one-night-stand with Kelly’s best friend and that led to Kelly ending the marriage. Kelly’s mother-in-law lives next door and is her pillar of support. Mitz divides her time between Kelly’s and Jeff’s. In the previous book, we saw Kelly give love another chance – she started dating a detective named Kyle.

The first half of the book is mostly about Kelly trying to locate Vince. Things take a turn for worse when his body is found. Kelly believes she’s on the right track when she’s threatened by the killer. Gambling, corrupt business and much more, the second half of this book is no less than an action-packed, adventure-filled roller coaster ride!

The suspense and tension are at an all-time high. The mystery keeps one on the edge of their seat. The character portrayal is simply superb. Mary Keliikoa is a master storyteller. The ending is mind-blowing. The identity of the killer is surprising and unexpected. We have a movie-like-sequence at the end – raises the tension a notch.

Denied is an engrossing and riveting thriller. Kelly Pruett has made her way into my list of favorite Private Investigators. Do I need to say more?!!

I received an ARC from Camel Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

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