Member Reviews

ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed the concept of this book! Family secrets run deep and the characters are tested throughout! I thought the writing style could’ve used a little work, but other than that I found the story enjoyable. There were lots of twists, some I saw coming and others made my head spin. I would recommend to anyone who likes mysteries and psychological thrillers!

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This book starts off quickly and immediately I'm hooked. I couldn't stop reading it and enjoyed every page. I loved the way the story unfolded and all the twists and turns. My thanks to netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.

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Headline: Twists, turns, surprise developments galore!

Book Review: Don't Ask, Don't Follow by Mary Keliikoa
Published by Oceanview Publishing, June 4, 2024

★★★★☆ (4.25 Stars!)

Portland, Oregon

Thriller writer Mary Keliikoa introduces Beth Ralston, the workaholic daughter of wealthy powerhouse lawyers. A fiercely independent woman, all-business, no nonsense Pacific Northwesterner who "...preferred things black or white, fact or fiction...".

She works in the Portland, OR law offices owned by her father, not as a partner or lawyer, but as a staff paralegal, on purpose, to stick to her dogged determination to fund her own education towards a JD law degree, despite generous offers from her parents.

"Fun doesn't pay the bills..."
Beth, focused on her job and career goals, would never be one caught frolicking and partying. But on that fateful night, urged on by a coworker, her closest friend in the firm, she reluctantly attends a company holiday party in the firm's lobby and socializes with small talk, catered canapes and freely flowing alcohol.

Murder. And a disappearance.
It is in during this party that Beth's boss, Craig, an associate lawyer, is found murdered in his office - by Beth herself.

It is also during this time that Beth's elder sister, Lindsay, disappears.

Fired!
Then, inexplicably, instead of being supportive of one distraught daughter and being concerned about the disappearance of another, her own parents work behind the scenes to have Beth locked out of her office, fired from her job - banished from her own father's law firm.

A judge gets involved. A women's health clinic and midwives enter the picture. And even as the Portland PD investigates the death of Craig, someone else meets an untimely, unnatural demise. A killer is on the prowl.

And life as Beth knows it unravels before her very eyes...

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Twists, turns, and unexpected developments galore.

For some readers, however, the book may come across more under the Women's Fiction genre than a Mystery Thriller, the way the storyline is written.

In the novel's 350 pages, the protagonist incessantly reminisces on, yearns for and expresses distress for her missing sister, saturating the narrative with references to "Lindsay", the name of her sister repeatedly mentioned 595 times, and "sister" 164 times. "Craig", the name of her murdered boss is repeated 254 times. However, for the latter, there is for a reason - being a key piece in the puzzle!

To be quite clear, this may be partly due to the fact that I read a prepublication unedited ARC (advanced reading copy) with typos, misalignments, the table of contents missing, and chapters not entirely organized.

This was my first read of Ms. Keliikoa's books. I admit I probably wasn't the primary target audience for this particular novel, but, without hesitation, I've added her "Misty Pines" and "Kelly Pruett" mystery novels to my TBR list.

Review based on an advanced reading copy courtesy of Oceanview Publishing and NetGalley.

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Beth Ralston, daughter of a lawyer, is a paralegal at her father’s law firm in Portland, Oregon. Despite, the long hours and hard work, she gets on well with Craig, the young associate lawyer she’s been assigned to and enjoys working with him. Heading back to her office after an office party, she sees someone who looks very much like her journalist sister Lindsay coming out of Craig’s office, but when Beth calls her name, she doesn’t stop. Later, calling in to Craig’s office, she finds him dead at his desk.

Despite Lindsay being a few years older than Beth, the sisters have always been close, although Lindsay would often disappear for days at a time, chasing a story without telling anyone where she is. She has always been passionate about saving the planet and fighting injustice, making a name for herself as an investigative journalist. Unable to find Lindsay after the party, Beth is convinced she was working on something with Craig and has gone into hiding to protect herself from danger. Despite receiving a message from Lindsay, ‘Don’t ask, don’t follow,’ Beth decides to follow the breadcrumbs left in the wake of Lindsay’s latest investigation. What she discovers is more shocking than she could have ever imagined.

This is a smart and complex thriller combining a dysfunctional family with deeply hidden secrets with a tale of corruption and greed. Starting off with a punch with a dramatic murder at work, it’s followed by a slower build-up of suspense as Beth follows her nose to uncover the shocking secrets and uncomfortable truths her sister has been investigating, then culminates with some unexpected twists in an explosive climax. Beth is a strong character driven by her fierce loyalty to her sister. She is determined to find out the truth, despite her disengaged mother, who never wants to face up to anything distasteful and her father who puts his campaign to be elected mayor ahead of his family. A range of secondary characters add colour and flavour to the plot as Beth visits the seedier side of town. Narrated from Beth’s point of view, this works well to quickly hook in the reader and deliver an absorbing mystery.

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Ever since they were young, Beth’s older sister Lindsay would say to her “Don’t ask, don’t follow”. But when Beth’s boss turns up dead at an office party and Beth is sure she saw Lindsay fleeing the scene, she’s sure Lindsay is innocent, but Lindsay’s gone missing leaving behind the same cryptic message as always. Beth is all grown up now and this time she’s not playing Lindsay’s game, this time she’s going to save her from herself, but is it already too late? A clever cat and mouse tail that will keep the pages flipping long into the night. Thank you to Oceanview Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC of this book.

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Don’t Ask, Don’t Follow, by Mary Keliikoa Beth is a paralegal at her dad‘s law firm and is attending a party where her sister should’ve been her plus one but once again doesn’t show up. When Beth goes to take a break from all the socializing that she’s trying her best not to do she goes into her boss Craig‘s office and finds him murdered. The only problem with this is she also saw A brief glance of her sister quickly leaving the building. When she finds her sisters cell phone with a message that says don’t ask, don’t follow, Beth is at first irritated but once she starts investigating her private investigator sisters life she finds more questions than answers and more strangers than friends. Craig is just the first of many violent acts in soon Beth and Lindsey‘s dad will be targeted can Beth figure out what’s going on before she loses her whole family and can she trust the one person that wants to help her? When I first started reading this book I really felt like this was going to be a subpar thriller but as I continue to read it seem to just get better and better and wind it up being a book I thoroughly enjoyed. I can honestly say I would definitely read another book by this author again because this one was well plotted with mini twist interns that made for a great read. I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for my free arc copy. Please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.

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Don’t Ask, Don’t Follow by Mary Keliikoa is smart mystery novel enhanced by a well-crafted plot, relatable characters, and believable family drama.
Epigraph: “Of two sisters, one is always the watcher, the other the dancer.” Louise Gluck, poet.
Thus the tone of the novel is set, in which two sisters, while very different, share a deep love for and loyalty to each other. Beth Ralston is a paralegal at her father’s law firm. When feisty older sister Lindsay Ralston, an investigative reporter, goes missing, Beth knows in her core that her sister is in trouble and she must find Lindsay.
No spoilers here—the plot is a fascinating look at the complicated subjects of use of home DNA tests, parenthood, sisterhood, and adoptions. The prose is intelligent and readable, with good pace, and had enough twists to keep me riveted to the finale.
This author is new to me, and this is the first book I have read by this talented writer. I plan to track down more of her psychological suspense novels!

Thank you to Oceanview Publishing and NetGalley. This is my honest review.

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The novel starts with good action including a murder early on. The murder is in a high power legal firm but the legal aspect is not the major thrust of the novel. That murder sets the stage for uncovering truth layer by layer.

Beth is a capable amateur sleuth. She is tenacious because her missing sister, Lindsay, is the focus of her investigation. Lindsay is an investigative reporter and Beth tries to figure out what story she was working on, hoping that will help her understand where Lindsay might be now. There is suspense from time to time as someone is trying to stop Beth. I was a bit surprised the police let her get away with her actions.

This novel deals with some serious issues regarding birth, adoption, and DNA tests. Also part of the plot is the influence of powerful people and discord in family relationships. There are secrets in Beth's family that come to light, much to the dismay of her father who is running for mayor of Portland. There was a good twist at the end and a hint of romance along the way.

I have read several of Keliikoa's novel and really like her writing style. Other than beginning a chapter with a dream not identified as such, a pet peeve of mine, I liked this novel and recommend it.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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Another compelling and taut mystery by Mary Keliikoa, the fourth of hers that I have read. Of those, all feature a strong and intelligent female who persists in unraveling and following threads until justice can be served. Beth Ralston's glimpses her sister, an investigative reporter, running out of her boss's office. After discovering he was murdered, she finds a message telling her Don't ask and don't follow. But Beth needs to protect her sister and to find out what her sister was working on. Cannot recommend her books too highly to any mystery lovers. Her reputation is one the rise. Rounding up from 4.5⭐

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Not everyone and everything is as expected. Most people have secrets that keep from those they love and closest to them. Through reading this book you will discover more about each characters and the skeletons in their closet. You are kept guessing what is going to happen next and how it will all end. An entertaining story.

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🔦Beth works as a paralegal. Her sister Lindsay is an investigative reporter and is often away on assignment. When Beth spies someone who looks very similar to Lindsay running away from the scene of her boss's murder, she is unsure what to think.

🔦From a young age, Lindsay has always told Beth, "Don't Ask, Don't Follow, but this time Beth takes the investigation into her own hands. Can she figure out what is going on before it all unravels?

🔦This was a very unique and intriguing thriller. I really enjoyed the legal intricacies woven throughout the story. While the book started off with a bang, I do feel it did lose its momentum a bit towards the middle, but then it picked up again towards the end with that cracker ending. I really felt for Beth as she pushed herself to uncover the truth.

🔦With lots of twists, this fast-paced novel kept me turning those pages at rapid speed. I would definitely consider this a win 🏆

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Although she would rather be anywhere else, Beth makes the rounds at the company office party. When she returns to her office, she finds the body of her murdered boss and she sees a woman running from the scene. Beth swears the woman running from the scene was her sister Lindsay. While waiting for the police, Beth receives a text from her sister that reads:Don’t ask. Don’t follow. Suddenly, Beth is being looked at as a suspect, her sister is nowhere to be found and Beth is desperately trying to put the pieces together. This was a really good story with a heavy dose of suspense! I thank Netgalley and Oceanview Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Don't Ask, Don't Follow is one of those books that you just can't stop reading, it's engaging and has a great plot. The story is well-written and full of action and mystery and sometimes, the advice, don't ask, dont follow, seems like the best course of action to follow. Ms. Keliikoa wrote another thrilling story and I'm sure more will come!
I thank the author, her publisher, and NetGalley for this ARC.

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The action in this book started immediately and kept me reading long into the night. I just had to read one more chapter, and then one more... I really liked the writing style, even though now and then I felt like the story relied too much on assumptions rather than facts. The characters were interesting as was the mystery that Beth unraveled. Such a great read.

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DON'T ASK, DON'T FOLLOW by Mary Keliikoa was a marvelous read -- tightly written and suspense-filled, this story of a paralegal Beth tracking down her sister Lindsay to figure out why she was running away from the scene and why she left only a cryptic note instructing her "don't ask, don't follow." The setting of Portland and Oregon were a major benefit for me as well as Beth's commitment to clear herself of wrongdoing while following harrowing clues to what could ultimately be the undoing of all she knows and values in her life. Keliikoa held my attention throughout with well-drawn, believable characters I cared about. I received a copy of this book and these opinions are my own, unbiased thoughts.

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Title: Don’t Ask, Don’t Follow
Author: Mary Keliikoa
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Rating: 3.5 stars

Another book that sparked some great conversation over at Thriller Book Lovers: The Pulse!

Beth is a quiet paralegal who is perfectly happy being a borderline workaholic shut-in, unlike her sister Lindsay who is also a workaholic, but in the investigative reporter field, always out and loud trying to solve problems. So when Beth is working upstairs instead of down at the company party (because her sister bailed on her), she’s shocked to see Lindsay darting away from Beth’s boss’ office and refusing to stop when Beth calls her. When she gets back to her office, she’s shocked to discover that her boss has been murdered. She begins to pick up on little clues that her sister left behind for her, and from there she’s led into the darker side of Portland, meeting people she’s not sure she can trust (who definitely don’t trust her), being unable to trust every she’s always known, and questioning all the things she thought she knew about herself, her sister, and her affluent family.

This was an interesting story! I’ll start with the negative and get that out of the way - it dragged on probably 30-50 pages too long. Had this clocked in at around 280 pages, I think it could’ve been a five star for me. Unfortunately there was a lot of ‘tail-chasing’ that felt repetitive. And in fairness to the author, that is probably extremely accurate to how this case would’ve been in reality. Unfortunately with thrillers, it’s best to suspend reality to give us the best, fast-paced details that keep us turning pages. And for that, Mary was very successful in the first 25% and last 20%

The book does start fast and end fast, and I personally really enjoyed the payoff, so if you get to the middle and feel like it’s dragging and you want to stop…don’t! It’s rewarding to see how Lindsay’s story ends, along with everyone else we meet along the way.

We have a so many different people in this story who could be deemed unreliable based solely on their careers or life situations - paralegal, attorneys, politicians, young people suffering from addiction, a non-us citizen living in the states illegally, reporters, chief of police, rich white people - the list goes on and on. I loved that aspect, it was more than just a ‘you can’t trust this person’ but the career path or life circumstance and the stereotypes surrounding them get in your head and you can’t help wondering if they can be trusted. It was far from your run-of-the-mill unreliable story in that sense and I found it creative & refreshing.

Another thing I enjoyed is that not everything was a resolved happy ending tied up in a bow, that would be virtually impossible based on the events that unfolded; however, I did like that there were aspects of a happily ever after that you don’t always see in thrillers. I don’t mind depressing or open-ended finales, but every once in awhile I do love a warm & fuzzy feeling when I’m closing a book that has been otherwise quite bleak.

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"Don't Ask Don't Tell" by Mary Keliikoa is a mystery novel featuring private investigator Kelly Pruett. In this book, Kelly finds herself caught up in a dangerous investigation involving a missing person, a corrupt politician, and a secret that someone is willing to kill to protect. As Kelly delves deeper into the case, she uncovers a web of deceit and betrayal that puts her own life at

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Don't Ask, Don't Follow started out on a high note. But what killed it was when the main character, Beth decided to cover for her sister in a murder investigation. It was a habit to cover for her sister that carried forward from childhood. The incident wouldn't have bothered me otherwise. But Beth is a paralegal and should know better. After that, the noel just lost all credibility with me. And my motivation to continue reading was lost. A one star DNF at 34%

This is the first novel that I've read from Keliikoa. And while I didn't care for this particular novel, it won't stop me from trying to read any of her other works.

I received a DRC from Oceanview Publishing through NetGalley. This review is completely my own and reflects my honest thoughts and opinions.

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Don't Ask, Don't Follow by Mary Keliikoa is an excellent thriller that I absolutely loved.

I really enjoyed the first person POV. Reading the story from Beth's perspective was really unique.

Beth is a paralegal in Portland and finds her boss's dead body.

This story has intrigue and so many secrets. When Beth sees Lindsay, her sister fleeing the scene, but is it a trick of the eye? She can't reach Lindsay for days and Beth becomes a suspect.

Beth is looking into her sister's life, who is an investigative reporter.

I really enjoyed this mystery. The story is perfectly plotted with incredible twists.

I love this author's previous books and this one was no EXCPETION.

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A holiday party turns deadly for someone at Beth Ralston's father's law firm, where she works as a paralegal. Beth hides the fact that she glimpsed her sister Lindsay fleeing the scene from the police and, despite her sister's message "don't ask, don't follow", Beth feels compelled to find her sister, which means figuring out whether Lindsay is the killer or in danger herself, even if it puts Beth in danger herself. I found myself quickly immersed in the story. I enjoyed the quick, action-packed plot that held several surprises, and I kicked myself for not seeing one big twist coming!

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