Shadow Stalker, Book 1 Finders Keepers Mystery Series

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Shadow Stalker

Book 1, Finders Keepers Mystery Series

 

An ominous shadow hangs over her, as Christine Finder,  alias Melissa Rompart, visits the brutal slaying of her parents most nights in a dream.  The threat of discovery propels her to search for the whereabouts of the killer to see the man brought to justice. In the meantime, the killer stalks her mind while she operates Finder’s Keepers, an agency that searches for the people her clients hire her to find. Nathan Brent is only four years old and missing. Will she find him in time or will the killer find her first?

Prologue

Her vision seeped through the louvers on the utility room door. The images seemed broken as in a jigsaw puzzle until she leaned forward and placed her forehead against the wood. Her insides tightened. Everyone was shouting. She willed her body to stop trembling but it seemed to have a will of its own. The gun that the stranger held, just like on TV but different, was pointed at her father. This was real. Daddy had hid her … told me to stay where I am until … She couldn’t remember.

Daddy’s voice sounded like it did when he talked on the phone sometimes. “What do you want with us? You have no business being here. We said no contact.”

She watched his face get redder than she’d ever seen it, even when he’d been out in the sun too long. Mommy was shaking her fist. She never did that. The stranger smiled, totally silent, not intimidated, it seemed to the five year old. A shiver walked its way up her spine. She’d seen guns like that in the cartoons she watched. This one was a little longer though. Only business, the man said. What business, she wondered.

The man straightened his arm, the one holding the gun. Her vision blurred for a second, horror filling the empty spaces in her brain. The explosion echoed in the foyer. The bullet seemed to travel in slow motion. Just like the cartoons, she thought. Her daddy’s body slammed into the banister of the staircase heading up to the bedroom area and the maid’s quarters. The railing shook. Her father’s body flopped forward. His head smacked the floor. He lay still then.

Blood covered the wall behind where her father had stood. Her mother screamed and then was silent. Before her father’s body hit the tiled foyer, she watched the side of her mother’s head explode. Specks of blood and other gooey stuff splattered all over the walls, mixing with the blood from her father. Her stomach lurched. She wrapped a hand tightly across her mouth. A silent scream rattled around in her head seeking an escape. Get up, it said. Daddy. Mommy. Get up. Please. The scream evaporated, as if it had never been. They weren’t moving. In the cartoons, they always got back up. Why don’t they get up?

Tears filled her eyes, blurring her vision again. Daddy just lay there. Mommy lay beside him, covered in the blood that flowed from her body. Her sightless eye stared toward the girl, hidden. The girl felt as if she was going to throw up but she swallowed instead. She swiped at the tears that silently trickled down her pudgy cheeks. Her mother told her she had cute dimples, whatever that was. Her mother liked to touch her cheeks. Now…

She watched as the man, the monster, moved toward the entrance. Then he stopped. He looked up the stairs, then down the hall. He looked toward her hiding place, his eyes cold, calculating, wondering. Her stomach lurched, the fright almost real enough to touch. Could he see her? Her daddy had told her to hide here. He knew they were in danger. Why? Who was this man? How did daddy know him? Maybe it was mommy the man hated. Why? Footsteps interrupted her questions. The man was moving down the hall straight toward her.

She crept backwards, crawling on all fours as if she were a spider. Her gymnastics teacher had taught her that. I need to get out of here. He will kill me, too. She remembered her discovery when she’d hidden in here last week. Her cousins had come for a visit. They loved to play hide and seek in the large, multistoried mansion that was her home. She’d found a door leading to the garage where her daddy’s cars were kept under the chauffeur’s apartment. She’d sneak out that way.

Several hanging tools brushed her shoulders as she crept under them toward safety. They swung to and fro. It was as if they whispered, “She’s in here.” She twisted her head behind. She couldn’t see through the slats in the door anymore but the heavy tread of footsteps grew louder, closer. She reached the hidden door. It creaked as she slipped through.

“Wait.” His voice echoed through the tiny room, resonating off the walls of the small space, the sound carried over the creak of the door as he pulled it open. The menace in his voice was gone, replaced by enticement.

She scurried into the large garage. Ignoring the man, she skirted the three cars stored there. Her heart pumped so loudly in her ears, the sound blocked out the rustle of the man’s clothes as he squeezed through the same opening. She turned slightly and saw his shadow. Her short legs pumped toward the door leading to the stone walled courtyard and the gated entrance to the back yard. The wrought iron gate was open. Good.

Her feet flew over the paved driveway toward the gate. She turned once to see if the chauffeur was nearby. Benson played with her sometimes. He was nowhere to be seen. Then she remembered. Benson had asked for the day off to take Maria, the maid, to the beach. There’s no one to help. She streaked through the wrought iron gate.

The yard was tree filled, almost like a park. She ran like the wind, as if the devil himself was after her. He is. She reached the second gate in the high wrought iron fence that surrounded her parent’s property. It was slightly ajar. Her parent’s always kept this one locked but now… She almost forgot to breathe as she raced through it and into the street. The sidewalk led to town. Her legs pounded the pavement hard. “Wait.” The shout came from behind her. The man was following.

The sound of his footsteps bounced off cement walls and rock enclosures, the attempt of homeowners to protect what was theirs. Trees, thick for privacy, lined the street, hiding nearby houses from view. Traffic was non-existent along this street at this time of day. She ran. Her instincts told her that life, her life, depended on it. She rounded a corner but then peeked back. He was still coming, walking briskly in her direction. I need to hide.

She crawled under a nearby bush, its dense foliage the perfect cover, she thought. The picture of her mother’s head scattering debris all over the walls played like a ticker tape through her brain. Her stomach roiled again and she gagged. Mommy. Daddy. Please help me. Footsteps rounded the corner. The sound grew louder. He’ll find me. I have to leave.

She stood. He reached for her with one hand while the other, the one that had held the gun, was in his pocket. She ducked just out of his reach. She raced like the wind, staying off the sidewalk this time. She flew through the trees as if someone carried her, her feet barely touching the ground long enough to make an indent in the leaves. Her body slammed into low branches that scratched and tore at her clothing. She was shorter than the man so movement for her was easier here, she reasoned. The heavier footsteps had slowed, proving her right. She heard a twig snap. He was still coming. Maybe a policeman…

The girl ran. Her legs hurt. Muscles contracted painfully. Trickles of blood from scratches marred her perfect skin, skin that her mother would caress from time to time. Mommy. The thought hurt so much. Her daddy liked to swing her over his head. She almost smiled at the thought but then tears flowed again when she remembered. He’s back there. Lying on the floor. Blood oozed from his forehead. He never got back up.

The race continued. She rounded another corner. Her body slammed into legs encased in dark blue pants. Strong hands steadied her but she wriggled to be free. She looked over her shoulder, twisting this way and that. “Hey there. What’s the hurry?” The voice sounded kind, different than the one she ran from. She looked up.

“Melissa?” The man’s smile turned quickly to a frown, concern written all over his face. “What’s wrong?”

She pointed in the direction she’d come from. Her breaths were mere gasps, words impossible. Tears fell unhindered. She slipped behind the legs. Would the man shoot this person too? She pointed again as the man rounded the corner. She saw him stop before the policeman could look in the direction she pointed. The man ducked his head as his foot stepped backward. She watched him, silently and as quickly as he’d come, step behind the nearest tree, out of sight. Her heart felt as if it would leap out of her chest. Then she was sick. All over the shiny black shoes of the policeman she’d collided into.

“I don’t see what you’re trying to tell me, Melissa. Calm down. Just take a deep breath.” He saw her looking at the mess at his feet. “Don’t worry about that. I can clean them. But what’s got you in such a tizzy”

She swallowed, tears streaked down her cheeks as if they’d never stop. “He-he,” She hiccoughed. She pointed in the direction she’d come from. “He shot mommy and daddy.” She gasped for another breath. Her finger shook as she continued to point toward the corner where the monster had disappeared. “He shot them.”

Reviews:

A Pleaser… May 26, 2013

You will find that when you begin reading this book, that this author has the wonderful gift of drawing you right into the story to where you not only know who the characters are, you become the characters. She’s a fantastic writer and I give this and all of her books 5 Stars.

 Keeps you at the edge of your seat…. October 15, 2013

This was the first time I read any books from the author. Right away
she got my attention with the characters. I wasn’t sure at first by the title if it was a book I would like to read but I soon found that is was very good.
I usually am pretty good at guessing as to what is going to happen next but there were many twists and turns in this tale. I didn’t realize that this was the first book in a series so now I am anxious to read the next one.
I felt like Christine finder was a very real character and I could relate
easily to her pain and hurt. She seems to be running away not just
from her parents murderer but from God as well. It seems as though she
would like to melt into the world and not be noticed and yet at the same time she wants to save the world. She opens a agency to Find people which is interesting because she does not want to be found. She has a lot of strength and courage that seems to come from her inner survival.
Jeremy walks in and ruffles her being. He is everything she is trying
to stay away from and works in a similar profession. He is strong and
someone she would find her self leaning on. He loves God and
shows his grace. She is afraid of loving and being loved.
So the two of them have a tension between them throughout the book.
Jeremy tries to keep Christine safe but she wants to take care of herself.
Soon she realizes a little help isn’t all that bad and the two end up
helping each other in their cases.
This is an edge of the seat read. If you like series and action than
this is the book for you.

Great Book October 10, 2013

By Lori
Shadow Stalkers is one the the best recent mystery books I have read. The book keeps you on your toes wondering what is going to happen next from the very beginning. And just when you think you have it all figured out, another curveball is thrown. The book revolves around a girl who witnessed her parents murder when she was little. The murderer is following her without her knowledge. She is currently a private detective looking for a lost little boy. She joins forces with another private detective who was her protector. They together look for the lost boy and a lost elderly man.
I will be reading more of Barbara Derkson’s books in the future.

Shadow Stalker–A Suspense Ride! October 6, 2013

Always, a beginning like Barbara’s Shadow Stalker (love the title) is what draws a reader of suspense into the book. What a horrid nightmare, which the protagonist suffers through her adulthood, for a child. Yet, it happens in real life, and Barbara pulls the reader into her story because she employs such a method.
Starting her own detective agency, Melissa/Christine battles to find a four-year-old child while dealing with her own problems/nightmare. Has the murderer of her parents found her? Will he ever give up? And can she and Jeremy Goodman, who wants to protect her, work together and perhaps find a spark of love?Fast paced, intense, and a book well-worth your time and money. You’ll be pulled into the story from the beginning and have a hard time putting it down. Intriguing plot!
A hooker to the next book in the series, September 24, 2013
This review is from: Shadow Stalker (Finder Keepers Mystery Series) 

“Shadow Stalker” by Barbara Ann Derksen gets 5 stars from me.

This book is about Christine Finder, alias Melissa Rompart, who dreams about her parents brutal murder every night. This murder happens when she is just a young child. At the start of the story Christine ( now an adult) returns to her old hometown with an adopted name (she was adopted after the murder) and sets up a business as a PI to find missing children along with her dog Chief.

The first case has her partnering with her lawyer’s son Jeremy Goodman who is also a PI and there cases are interwoven.

While trying to found the 4 year old boy who was kidnapped, Christine is also trying to found her parent’s killer but he is still trying to kill her.

This is the first book in the “Finders Keepers Mystery Series” and the ending will leave you wanting to read the next story in this series. This stories leaves you asking questions such as what was in the box left on the porch? And will Jeriamiah and Fanny get together as well as Jeremy and Christine and will Christine’s parents killer ever be caught

If you like mystery you will like this book! This is a story that readers who like and readers who don’t like religion in their stories will like even through Jeremy and his father are Christians and let you know it they don’t shove it at you ( and yes I am a Christian and I added this sentence because I am thinking of friends who likes mysteries and would like this book but doesn’t like to read Christian Fiction).

I would be reading more of Barbara’s books in the future.

letter from. Knowledgeable reader:

Barbara,

Hi. My name is Cheri Swalwell. I’m Phred’s Assistant. I wanted to reach out to you personally myself about your book. I started by reading your first book and then reading Essence of Evil. Wow! All I can say is…when is the third book going to be ready to read? I can’t wait for the conclusion! The subject matter is heavy but your books leave a lasting impression. And I absolutely love Jeremy and his father – they way they live out their faith on a daily basis. They aren’t perfect but they are children of God and have the confidence that goes with that. And I truly love Jeremiah and the little boy (can’t remember his name off the top of my head). And the woman friend of Jeremiah…and, and, and. 🙂

I have a friend who recently joined Book Club and your book is one of the first ones she read. Her name is Lydia Scott and I read the review she posted on the discussion page. What a testimony to your writing – I believe God is at work when He initiated her looking me up on Facebook and rekindling our friendship after 20+ years, prompting me to invite her to join the group and then your book being one of the first that she read. So…thank you for being used of God in that way.

On a more personal note, our town is going through a devastating situation right now. The end of June one of our local Christian radio hosts was arrested during a large Christian concert for child pornography. He had recently gotten married and inherited a step son the age of the child he later admitted to violating. It looks as though he is going to go away for life…his next trial is coming up very soon. Anyway, the details are messy but I believe that God used your book and the subject matter in my life. It’s no coincidence that came out right before I started reading your book. Your book helped to show me what all is involved with child pornography and the devastation that is leaves to all.

I just wanted to say you are a blessing to so many and thank you for listening to God and writing what He lays on your heart. I look forward to getting to know you better.

Have a great weekend –

in Him,

Cheri Swalwell
Executive Assistant to the CEO

Great Read, September 4, 2013
This review is from: Shadow Stalker (Finder Keepers Mystery Series) 

Shadow Stalker, by Barbara Ann Derksen, began with mystery and intrigue. It continued to the end of the book. There was not a chapter that did not have something exciting happening. The action kept me wanting to read more and more. I couldn’t put it down. When I reached the end, I was wishing there was more to read. Derksen definitely ended the book with a cliff-hanger.

Other than all the action there were two other parts I really liked about the book. The first part was the inner dialogue of Christine and Jeremy. It was great knowing what they were thinking. I also liked how Jeremy, his father, and Jeremiah were so strong in their faith and Christine was not. It leaves it open for her to become a Christian by seeing strong Christian men. It is too bad there wasn’t a strong Christian woman that she spent time with.

 

Purchase ebook at: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/313605 and http://www.amazon.com/Vanished-Wilton-Strait-Mystery-ebook/dp/B006V4IZ9C/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1382984448&sr=8-2&keywords=barbara+ann+derksen

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