Book Recommendations

Derailed by Mary Keliikoa

The moment you visit Portland, you know it’s different.  And proud of being so.  I only visited Portland once for a couple of days, but the author nailed its subcultural pride, as well as its river, its train, and the vibe of its neighborhoods.

Why Read an Untested Author?

At the time I read this, I was needing adventure and excitement and purpose. And yes, I was hoping a book could do that. Oh, I know most people go find a mountain and climb it instead of finding those things in a book, but I’m kinda short on time so…

When my book club friend dropped this off to me, contactless of course, and we just waved at each other from afar, it was a huge blessing. I got the adventure of the story, and the adventure of reading a new author!

If you enjoy stories that contain a purpose-driven protagonist, plus

  • Family mystery and secrets
  • The classic wife-mom-person dilemma
  • Dogs as truth barometers
  • Hidden underworld

…then definitely invest your time in this read.  Aside from the well-balanced consistency of these themes, the mystery also finds the happy medium between unveiling the criminal and keeping them hidden.

Respect for the Reader

And isn’t it true that some mystery writers purposely veil their readers so that the end is a shock? I grow bitter in those cases.  But this writer does a masterful job of helping us discover truth WITH the protagonist.  The discoveries are perfectly balanced throughout this read.


by Mary Keliikoa

Kenmore, WA, Camel Press, 2020

Pleasantly, the protagonist is relatable.  In addition, she is constantly beset with the inner dialogue so many women have to STILL deal with today: work or family?  Argggh.  I hear you, lady! 

She is also not immune to the fights – both verbal and physical – that would happen in her line of work. I enjoyed reading how she maneuvered those.  

I am gore-averse, as well, and appreciated that this was not a book intended to shock with blood and guts.

On the flip side, if you like mysteries inspiring nightmare-inducing fear, this would not be a good match. Which is, again, why I loved it. I was afraid, but not checking the closets of my house!

At the end of this story, I searched the author to order everything she’s got.  I’m going to leave you with her website so you can sign up for her updates!

Check her out here: or on Instagram:


by Mary Keliikoa

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