Cover Image: Don't Ask, Don't Follow

Don't Ask, Don't Follow

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Member Reviews

The description of the book seemed interesting, so I wanted to check the story out. Unfortunately, I have since lost my initial interest in the story. I may try and find a physical copy to add the my library when it is released, though, because I think my readers could like it!

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The book is twisted and the revelations at the end were so heartbreaking. It’s a tangled family mystery. I loved the characters. Some characters were not that good but they were mysterious. After reading the book I felt that it is hard to trust things even if the truth is in front of you. And some truths are capable of destroying the family. It’s a perfect suspense Thriller with a tangled family mystery. I love the Author’s books. The Author never disappoints.

Beth is a paralegal in Portland, Oregon while Lindsay is an investigative reporter. Beth has always covered up for her sister Lindsay. Lindsay is the one who always found a way to sneak out. While despite everything Beth has tried to protect her. Their sisterly bond was good but after the office incident/ Murder, Beth tries to get to the bottom of the mystery. Her boss has been murdered and Beth saw glimpse of her sister but she isn’t sure If Lindsay has to do anything with it or it was Lindsay only. After finding her phone in her bag with an unsent text message to Beth displayed the screen: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Follow”. It’s like a missing piece of the puzzle, she is trying to find what is her sister up to or If she is hiding behind something. As she is getting close to the truth, the truth has brought other people lives at stake. The truth might bring back Lindsay but it is certain to destroy the family. She gets tangled in a web of conspiracy, secrets, truth, betrayal and unable to decide whom should she trust?

Many Thanks to the Author, Publisher and Netgalley for giving me opportunity to read this book.

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I had the great pleasure of reading this book early and blurbing it! Here is what I wrote:

A pulse-pounding read about truth, justice, and the unexpected secrets families keep. With the tension ramping up with every page, Kellikoa weaves a twisty, clever tale that will thrill you to the very end.

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Beth Ralston is a paralegal working for her father’s legal firm in Portland. On the night of the office Christmas party, Beth takes a short break from working to toast her colleagues and when she returns to her boss’s office she finds him murdered. She manages to catch sight of a woman running down the dark corridor and out of the building, and with a shock she realizes it is her sister Lindsay who was supposed to show up at the party. Beth discovers that Lindsay has dropped her cellphone into her purse, with an unsent text message to her that reads “Don’t ask. Don’t follow.” This launches Beth on a mission to trace her sister’s whereabouts and discover who murdered her boss, while struggling to understand the distant and vague attitude of her parents during this crisis and evade a mysterious and threatening figure who has been following her.

This debut novel from Mary Keliikoa is well-written, with a solid plot; a very respectable effort for a first thriller novel. I also appreciate the way the author sets up the scene of the murder – basically murdered in plain sight at a busy office Christmas party. Where there could be improvement is in the character development. Without providing more humanizing details, they are reduced to stereotypes. We have two sisters, one is the responsible, hard-working one and the other is a wild child, a patronizing father figure obsessed with his political ambition, the illegal immigrant nanny/housekeeper, and the alcoholic, delusional socialite mother. Because they weren’t real to me, I couldn’t really feel for the characters. However, the writing is good, the storyline well thought out and there is a little twist in there. A solid start. Thanks to Ocean View Publishing for the electronic copy.

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This book started off quickly, with Beth Ralston, a paralegal, finding her boss dead in his office. She also saw a woman running away - and the woman looks a lot like Beth’s sister, Lindsay. Why would her sister kill her boss? Why can nobody find her?

Lindsay is an investigative journalist, and her investigations led to a group of people who are stealing babies from disadvantaged women. The women are often told their child died, or they are coerced into giving up their children for adoption. Could this be the reason she has disappeared?

As I mentioned, this book started off with a bang, but it did start to get a bit drawn out as it went along. It has a very unique, but improbable, plot. There were a few twists her and there, but this one just didn’t grab me as hard as it could have. 3.5 stars.

(Thank you to Oceanview Publishing, Mary Keliikoa and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my review. This book is slated to be released on June 4, 2024.)

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Beth is paralegal at her father‘s law firm. She is determined to pay her own way through law school and not be beholden to her parents. But in an instant, her world is turned upside down. She finds her boss murdered and wasn’t that her sister Lindsay she saw running from his office. Suddenly billable hours don’t mean much to Beth. She is determined to find Lindsay and learn why she ran from their father's firm.
Pretty soon, a tangled web of lies, deceit, and murder threaten to engulf Beth. All the things she felt were important now mean nothing to her. All she wants is to find her sister and a killer who has an unknown agenda. It may have taken me a bit to get engrossed in this story, but once I did, I just kept flipping the pages. Did I guess one of the twists? Yes, but the why all this was happening escaped me.

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I enjoyed reading this suspenseful thriller, I love all the twists and turns the storyline took through out it kept my interest and kept me guessing till the very end. The shocking cliffhanger was exactly that, well worth the read and I will definitely recommend her books to friends and family.
I love Mary Keliikoa’s writing and would be very interested in reading some of her other books

A Must Read!!!

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Beth Ralston isn't too excited about having to attend an office party at her father's Portland firm, where she works as a paralegal. She's glad that at least she will have her sister Lindsay, an investigative reporter, attending the event as her plus one. Until it starts to look as if Lindsay might be a no-show...

And shortly after Beth returns to the office after having circulated as required at the party, she discovers that her boss has been murdered. When she sees a woman rushing away who looks remarkably similar to Lindsay, Beth's attempt to follow her proves fruitless.

So, after returning to the office, when Beth spots the phone Lindsay has left behind with an unsent message addressed to her stating, "don't ask, don't follow", she's not sure what to make of it all.

As it turns out, her sister has been investigating corruption in high places. So, Beth waits to hear from Lindsay. But in the meantime, when suspicion falls on Beth herself, it forces her to do to do her own investigation. The only problem is, what she discovers is far beyond anything she could have imagined, and it is tied into her own family's secrets...

The role of the Alliance Agency, the troubling behaviour of Beth's parents, and the nature of sibling dynamics are all examined in this novel, which begins with a bang, and manages to maintain a fast-paced style of storytelling that keeps the readers interest engaged more or less throughout.

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I finished this book in less than 24 hours. It was THAT captivating. I did not want to put it down. I loved the fast pace and the character development. The suspense was on point. Very action packed book. Lots of twists and turns.

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Enthralling, exasperating, brilliant. Loved it all the way. It prickled my nerves and tested my assumptions. Try to tell a child not to do something... She will do just the opposite.

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This book was a non stop adventure. Mary Keliikoa did an amazing job of developing the characters, making you want the best for them. It was extremely engaging and difficult to put down. I enjoy mystery/suspense/thrillers - and this was great!

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✰ 3 stars ✰

“Because don’t ask don’t follow implied another equally crucial directive—don’t tell.”

What saved Don't Ask, Don't Tell from being one of those typical generic mystery-thrillers was how that cliffhanger completely caught me off-guard. 😯 I was literally gob-smacked at the unexpected twist that I really appreciated. It is a credit to the author for their ability to keep the plot moving at a steady pace and still have it compelling enough to keep me going till the end.

“Don’t ask. Don’t follow. She knew how much I hated being told that. Sometimes the ask was too much.”

It's been quite awhile since I've read a thriller with a first person point of view, so it was a refreshing change, albeit one that took me a while to realize I wouldn't suddenly be immersed in someone else's mind. Beth was a strong-willed and determined paralegal. Following in her father's footsteps in practicing law at his firm, she always felt that it was something that created a wedge in the fiercely loyal and protective kinship with her older sister, Lindsay, that she held so dear. 'We weren’t a perfect family—was there such a thing?—but we’d functioned.' 😞 But, when not only a murder takes place at her father's firm and she catches her sister fleeing the scene, she gets swept up in a dangerous chase of tracking down what is the connection between her sister and the victim, why she unwittingly becomes a target, with only a message left behind that has been a trade secret between the two since they were little - 'Don't ask, don't follow'. 🤫

Her resilience towards finding out the truth behind her sister's whereabouts were a driving force to the storyline. I admit, there were moments where I found my attention span drifting - and a couple of leaps in the story's direction seemed less than plausible. But, the glue that kept it all together was this intimate portrayal of sisterhood - how much Beth was so keen and willing to help out Lindsay, despite her reservations and hesitancy. It's also a bittersweet depiction of family and the choices that we have to make - some mistakes that we never stop paying for. 😥 Beth's relationship with her parents kept me turning the page, because the mystery nut in me wanted to know why?? Why was it that all it took was one message for all of what Beth believed to be true in her life to unravel? 'Appearances might mean everything to my parents, but their lack of concern for Lindsay left me wanting answers even more.' It rankled me and it allowed me to bounce off different theories in my head as to what awaited their fates in the end; and being a shadow in her footsteps certainly made for an interesting ride. 👍🏻

“Lindsay was the investigator in the family, not me. I was only a little sister desperate to get her sibling back. But that counted for something.”

She's not a journalist like her sister, as she is painfully reminded time and time again - 'that’s right—I wasn’t my sister. And I’d never be as good as her. But I’d damn well try. That was more than he could say.' But, she had heart and brains, and I admired her steadfast courage in the line of action. She had a smart head on her and I liked how she didn't get too swayed by her emotions and tried to approach everything in a literal sense. Again, being further even more perplexed upon seeing how emotionally detached her parents were upon finding out the whereabouts of their missing child, enticed me to silently cheer her on in her detective work. 🕵🏻‍♀️ It was a heart-breaking plot that came into fruition, and while the villainous behaviors were slightly cartoon-ish rather than sinister, it was sadly very believable. That people do behave like that when they're fearless in their wrongdoings, so I did not fault it for its depiction. 🥺

Mary Keliikoa was an author I was not familiar with until now, but the blurb on Netgalley intrigued me - so here I am. And though it is still a rather semi-decent read, I did appreciate how smooth the writing was. Sharp and crisp dialogue, easy-to-follow transitions, and an intriguing cast of supporting characters that added enough variety to the story to make it engaging.👌🏻 Beth's narration had the distinctive feel of a noir-esque mystery, and she was a protagonist that kept my interest. If opportunity presents, I will not be remiss to check out her next work, in the hopes that it could pull off a gripping twist, as well as this one delivered. 👏🏻

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The novel unfolds with a relentless pace, delivering a tale of suspense that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. The strength of Keliikoa's storytelling lies in her ability to weave a complex narrative that seamlessly blends mystery and family drama. The protagonist, Beth, is a relatable and determined character whose quest to uncover the truth about her sister's disappearance propels the story forward. As the plot unfolds, layers of corruption, secrets, and betrayal are revealed, adding depth and intrigue to the narrative. The theme of family loyalty and the lengths one would go to protect their loved ones is a central and emotionally resonant aspect of the story. Beth's unwavering determination to find her sister, even as she becomes a suspect herself, adds a layer of depth to her character. The relationships and dynamics explored in the novel contribute to its emotional impact, making it more than just a thrilling mystery. While the novel is a rollercoaster of suspense, some readers might find certain plot developments slightly predictable. However, the strength of the characters and the intricate web of deception keeps the story engaging and ensures that the resolution is satisfying.

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"Don't Ask, Don't Follow" is a captivating and suspenseful tale of murder, dark family secrets, and the unbreakable bond of sisterhood. Set in Portland, Oregon, this novel takes readers on a thrilling journey as Beth Ralston, a paralegal, races against time to uncover the truth behind her sister Lindsay's disappearance and the murder of her boss.

The author skillfully weaves together a complex web of mystery, suspense, and emotional depth that keeps readers engaged from start to finish. The plot unfolds at a brisk pace, filled with unexpected twists and turns that constantly keep you guessing. As Beth dives deeper into Lindsay's world, the secrets she uncovers reveal a web of corruption and betrayal that spans unimaginable levels.

One of the strongest aspects of the book is the well-developed characters, especially the bond between Beth and Lindsay. The author brilliantly captures their sisterly relationship, portraying their unwavering loyalty and determination to protect each other at all costs. Beth's tenacity and courage make her a relatable and compelling protagonist, and the supporting cast adds depth and complexity to the story.

The author's writing style is concise, yet evocative, allowing readers to visualize the vivid settings of Portland and feel the tension and suspense build throughout the narrative. The themes of family, betrayal, and the pursuit of justice add layers of depth to the story, making it more than just a typical murder mystery.

The only slight critique would be a few instances where the pacing could have been tightened, particularly during certain introspective moments that slightly slow down the overall momentum. However, these instances are minor and do not detract significantly from the gripping story.

Overall, "Don't Ask, Don't Follow" is a compelling and well-crafted thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. With its intriguing plot, well-rounded characters, and themes of loyalty and sacrifice, this novel is sure to leave an indelible impression on fans of the mystery genre!

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Murder, dark family secrets, and the unwavering bond of sisterhood— regardless of the cost

This was a solid mystery. Nothing groundbreaking, but I enjoyed it. Well-written plot twists.

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Intriguing. Don't Ask, Don't Follow will draw you in, then take off like a freight train without brakes! Mary Keliikoa's novel has a very interesting plot, a sympathetic heroine, and almost more bad guys than the heroine can manage. As you follow Beth on her quest to find her sister Lindsay (who ironically sent the message not to question or follow her) you get caught up in an entangled web of violence, deceit and betrayal. Beth, undaunted, refuses to give up; even when she's derailed a few times. Perseverance, loyalty and devotion are her weapons of choice while fighting the battle to find her sister. I enjoyed reading this story, but I was slightly annoyed at some repetitions, like hearing Beth's thoughts while trying to figure out what her sister had already figured out. However, with so many "cars" being added and subtracted all while this "train" hurtling along towards possible disaster, Beth was overwhelmed. So, I kind of get the repetition trying to sort her thoughts. Overall, it's a good read. And the author certainly does enough to get you comfortable figuring out the direction you're heading, then yanking you back, and pushing you in another direction you didn't see coming. I would recommend this book to all readers. Thanks to NetGalley and Oceanview Publishing for an ARC of this novel.

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I was sent this book through NetGalley.
I did have some troubles at the start of the book. I felt like her actions were over explained a lot and it kind of took me out of the story. It seemed a little slow at times as well. I did enjoy the storyline though and at times kept me guessing at what was going to happen next! Overall, I did enjoy the book and will read more from this author!

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Beth’s sister Lynsey disappears after last being seen at the scene of a crime leaving Beth with nothing but a message saying “Don’t ask! Don’t follow!” A message that Beth ignores, fully intending to do both.

This was a really engaging mystery that was also a very quick and easy read. It wrapped up well and there was enough information throughout the book to allow you to piece together what was happening as you discovered more. Beth is a very likeable character and I enjoyed spending time with her.

Unfortunately the epilogue did not work for me at all, especially the mention of a relationship that made no sense and that felt extremely forced.

Overall though I still had a great time reading this

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This book got my attention right from the start and never let up! For a mystery/thriller, it was that perfect balance between being predictable and then totally catching you by surprise. Just when you think you have it all figured out, guess again! Keliikoa gives you a wide array of well developed characters to keep you guessing and add dimension to the story. If you like a fast-paced thriller and enjoy trying to crack a case, grab this book and join Beth as she tries to figure out why her sister has gone missing. This has drama, surprises and tragedy, making it a great read and one day, possibly a gripping movie.

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The elements are all here: Greed, Deceit, Impulse Control, Loyalty and when you have
NO idea that your entire life, the family, the career, everything, has been a gigantic
engineered screen play created, directed and engineered by the last people anyone
could suspect, making it out alive would be a miracle.
The book started out slowly but after the characters are set in place, my attention was
unbreakable. The accidental, unintentional hunt for siblings started a course of chaos
and uncovered a decades long operation that stood to ruin the aspirations of a main
character. I’m not going to say anything more because I think there are so many
parallel theme sets and each is leading to the cataclysmic conclusion of this gripping
story. I highly recommend this book.
My thanks to Oceanview Publishing, via NetGalley for a download copy of this book
for review purposes..

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