Kelly Pruett

Created by Mary Keliikoa

“Portland, Oregon has as many parts as the human anatomy. Like the  body, some are more attractive than others.”

Add Portland, Oregon’s KELLY PRUETT to the small but ever-growing pool of Mom P.I.s.

In a genre where so many protagonists are apparently incapable of reproduction, despite active (or even hyper-active) sex lives, it’s kinda refreshing to see a P.I. who’s not only capable of reproduction, but also of parenting. No convenient ex to raise the off-spring off page, or some equally convenient heart-rending tragedy to eliminate the responsibility of child-rearing completely, author Mary Keliikoa gets a big thumbs up from me by having Kelly actually raising her child.

Just like real people do all the time.

Okay, it’s a little piled on that her eight-year-old daughter, Mitz, just happens to be deaf, that Kelly is a single mom, and that that “the only real man” in her life is Floyd, their (no doubt adorable) basset hound, but I’ll cut the author a little slack–like any writer, she wouldn’t mind shipping a few units.

Fortunately, even without the domestic trappings, Kelly is a compelling character, neither defined or limited by her status as a working, single mom. And she approaches things in first-person narration in a clear-cut, common sense tone that that’s not so much hard-boiled as stone cold pragmatic. Which is also sorta refreshing.

In her impressive debut, Derailed (2020), we find her thrust into running her father’s detective agency (located in the “armpit”of Portland) on her own, after his unexpected death. Slightly overwhelmed, she’s trying to step up, leaving her comfort zone of “process serving, court document searches and the occasional tedious stakeout” for the sort of more complicated (and more lucrative) cases she’d always figure he would eventually train her for–an event that isn’t going to happen now that dear old Dad’s pushing up the daisies. And so she’s playing a constant game of catch-up, juggling her professional and personal obligations.

It’ll be interesting to see where the author takes this. As of Deceived (2022), the third in the series, so far sogood.



Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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