Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on August 12, 2014
Book 1 In The Finder’s Keeper’s 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?
Review By Jay A. Miller
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.
Review 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.
Review By Terri K. Nighswonger –
This review is from: Shadow Stalker: The Finders Keepers Mystery Series Book One (Finder Keepers Mystery Series 1)
This book drew me in from the prologue. At every turn in the story I was wondering what was going to happen next. Ms. Derksen did a wonderful job in framing a story that will have you on the edge of your seat. Being a dog lover and trainer, I was also intrigued by the canine character Chief.
In Shadow Stalker you are introduced to Christine, her search and rescue dog Chief and fellow investigator Jeremy. Christine is being stalked by the madman who killed her parents some 20 years earlier. At the same time, she is starting her detective agency and has an assignment that is causing her more enemies. Jeremy is supposed to be guarding her, as well as conducting his own detective agency. What are his real thoughts toward her? Will he be able to protect her?
My first response to closing the book on Shadow Stalker was, “when is the next book coming out?” This is a book series so don’t expect closure on everything at the end. You will be wanting more of Christine, Chief and Jeremy, I can guarantee. I can’t wait for the next installment and I think I will be downloading some of Ms. Derksen’s other books as well.
Book 2 In The Finder’s Keeper’s Mystery Series
Evil pursues Christine, in this the second book of the Finders Keepers Mystery Series. Retreat is not an option but her move forward makes her vulnerable to the very evil that took her parents’ lives. Faced with
yet another missing child, she embarks on a search that takes her out of her comfort zone to question her chosen career, her abilities, and her belief system as she helps stricken parents find closure. Christine finds herself confused about her growing interest in Jeremy but she is distracted by the essence of evil that surrounds her.
Essence of Evil is the second book in the Finders Keepers Mystery Series. I highly recommend reading Shadow Stalker, the first book in this series, before you read this one. I haven’t read it, yet, and wish I had before reading Essence of Evil. This is a series that really should be read in order.
Christine Smith helps locate lost children with the aid of her working dog, Chief. As a child she witnessed the murder of her parents and now twenty years later, the murderer still has not been caught. Even though Christine has a new name and has been relocated and many other safety measures taken, horrific threats are brought straight to her front door.
Christine is not one to let things go. And so when push comes to shove, she shoves back with all the force she can muster. And then there is poor Jeremy Goodman who has been hired to keep her safe. Which is a lot like trying to capture the strength of hurricane in a 12oz plastic pop bottle. But not only does he stick by her side, to protect, and to be a friend. . . if and when she’ll let him. . . but also to tell her about Jesus and His love for her.
Let me stop there for a second, I have to say that I really love the give and take and even the “fighting” that goes on between Jeremy and Christine as he tries to get her to see that faith is not a religion, but a relationship. And the entire battle of “how can there be a loving god when all this evil surrounds us,” is a theme that these two tackle. I love it because the arguing is true, to me it is anyway. So many times I have read where faith is shared and it’s all calm and peaceful, which is wonderful when that does happen. But I haven’t really read any Christian Fiction that had them fighting like this. And I applaud it. Salvation is worth a fight.
Jeremy cares for Christine and he wants her to know that even though a lot of evil has gone on in and around her life God was still there taking care of her. He wants her to know that God loves her and for her to find a personal relationship with Christ. And yes, he may get loud about it, but shouldn’t he? If you saw someone crossing a road when a semi-truck is coming at full speed, wouldn’t you at least yell at them to warn them of the oncoming danger? How much more important is it to save a person’s soul, rather than just their body.
This story is full of so many sad and awful things that actually do take place in the world around us but we have allowed ourselves to be blinded to. The case in this book is sex trafficking and pedophiles where little boys are concerned. It’s truly heart-wrenching. As awful as that is, we are still responsible to keep our eyes open and that is one thing this book does. Barbara Ann Derksen, the author, does a good job of showing the reader how to be aware of what is going on around you, not only for your own safety, or your children’s, but for those children out there that have no other defense going for them.
Off my soap box, and back to the book review… This book is powerful in many ways. It never once gets boring, that’s for sure. There are plenty of mysteries going on that keep your mind busy while your heart goes for this ride. Many great themes, so many! I love the main characters and can’t wait to read the next book. Although there were a few technicalities that made this book not flow as smoothly for me as I would’ve liked, I did enjoy the book and recommend it to those who like mysteries and suspense.
Review By Lydia
I am a Christian and an avid reader that admits to avoiding most “Christian books.” I enjoy mysteries and psychological intrigue, and frankly, the Christian writing I’ve come across in this genre is lacking in excitement, plot, character development, and often comes off as juvenile, “preachy/fake,” or just “trying too hard.” However, Barbara Ann Derksen’s writing is none of those things and is single-handedly showing me what I’ve been missing.
Derksen’s book, “Essence of Evil,” was one of the most compelling books I’ve read in some time, for several reasons: (1) The plot involves dark subjects that are handled with a delicate touch—the horror of murder, abduction, and pedophilia are present, yet I never felt patronized by too few (nor mentally assaulted by too many) gruesome details. I wanted to comfort those who had been psychologically and physically terrorized and to strangle those that held them captive; (2) The writing style is engaging with believable, honest characters and realistic dialogue—I wanted to continue knowing these characters beyond the last page; (3) Christian beliefs are seamlessly woven into the action—to me, a first in my experience with reading Christian fiction where many authors set aside the story line to sermonize. For example, Jeremy’s faith is so poignant because it is so very personal and such an integral part of his character.
Before reading this particular book, my experience had convinced me that I wanted to avoid books that sounded “mainstream” (for lack of a better term) but were written by Christian authors. Unfortunately, many prior books had reinforced my notion that Christian authors often missed the mark when venturing off into fiction writing. However, that is NOT TRUE in this case. I would read Barbara Ann Derksen’s books anywhere, anytime, and look forward to getting to know her God (and mine) better through her characters.
Review By SHAN
ESSENCE OF EVIL is definitely a book like none I have read. It deals with pedophilia and child abduction while the main character Christine, an alias, searches for the killer of her parents 20 years ago. A murder which she, at 5 years of age, witnessed. For years she has been in hiding, and then one day arrives home from a morning run to find a delivery at her house. A delivery which no one would ever want to receive.
The characters of Christine-an investigator who along with her dog Chief, searches for lost children. She is independent and often leaps without looking first. Then there is Jeremy, a PI, whom shares office space with her and will work with her on cases at times. But there is more than just a working relationship here, and the sparks often fly, but neither follows through. Jeremy is a Christian and his faith is lived out daily, and he does nothing to hide it, and will often share with Christine, even when she is not open to it. But God works in mysterious ways as you will see.
Boy’ escapes from his hell of too many years, and discovers something no one ever wants to find. In other books dealing with the subjects of pedophilia and child abduction they often go into graphic details, details that I don’t need or want to read. The results are enough to know that something evil has indeed happened and that’s more than enough for me. The other thing I really appreciated about this book was the lack of coarse language. It’s refreshing to read a book that deals with all the negative feelings and reactions without the use of said language.
It is a definite page turner and one I had trouble putting down. There were many twists and turns and just when I thought someone was guilty, they would prove me wrong. I love a good read and this is definitely one. This is not a book to be read alone as it leaves one with many questions: Where have all the children gone? Who is ‘the boss’? Who has been keeping such close eyes on Christine all these years? How are the Rampart family business and the child abductions related? So many questions…how much time to wait?! Anxiously awaiting book #3.
A good, clean, faith-based, exciting read, especially if you like a good mystery, or two. Pick it up, you will not be disappointed. Although, you may want to pick up the first book in the series, Shadow Stalker, which will give you more background on the main characters and the story line.
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