PW #128: Adult Mystery: DERAILED

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Names: Kellye Garrett & Sarah Henning
Mentee Name: Mary Keliikoa
Category:  Adult
Genre:  Mystery
Word Count:  83,000


Second-generation P.I. Kelly Pruett has a deaf daughter, an over-protective ex-husband, and her first real case involving a woman who drunkenly stumbled into the path of a train. Kelly is desperate to prove the death was no accident, but as she sinks further into the world of Portland’s elite, she finds that exposing the truth could cost Kelly her daughter and her life.


Portland has as many parts as the human anatomy. And just like the body, some areas are more attractive than others. My office was in what some might consider the armpit—northeast Portland. Petty crime and graffiti were rampant. Still, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I’d grown up here in my father’s P.I. business.

I’d just flicked off the light when a soft rap sounded on the front door. From my desk, I couldn’t see who it was. I made no effort to check. I’m no wimp, but I don’t rush to open doors after dark.

Another rap, more insistent this time.

It was more likely a vagrant than a client but I couldn’t afford to lose any opportunity for a paycheck. Despite steady work from a few law firms around town, being a single mom usually meant there was more month than money.

I reached into my purse for my pepper spray. Bracing myself, I clicked on my desk light and strode into the reception area, opening the door. A woman stood there, raincoat and umbrella sheltering her from the late October drizzle. With the street light at her back, I couldn’t see her face, only the pin curls in her hair and the briefcase hanging from her hand.

“Yes?” I said.

“I need your help.” Her voice was strained. She must be having car issues. “I need to hire you.”


Author: Brenda Drake

New York Times bestselling author of Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1), Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2), Touching Fate (Fated Series #1), and Cursing Fate (Fated Series #2) available now, creator of #PitchWars, #PitchMadness, and #PitMad, fueled by coffee and Goldfish crackers (but not together), and represented by Peter Knapp with The Park Literary Group. @brendadrake

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  1. Love a good mystery! Please send 50 pp as a double-spaced .doc to with your title and PitchWars in the subject.

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  2. Please send the query and first 100 pages to me at querymichelle(at)fuseliterary(dot)com and mention Pitch Wars in the subject line.

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  3. I’m really liking this so far! Will you send the full manuscript (Word doc attachment strongly preferred) to query [at] handspunlit [dot] com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line? Thanks so much, and I look forward to the read!

    Courtney Miller-Callihan, Handspun Literary Agency

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