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Authors: Michelle Weidenbenner

Cache a Predator

BOOK: Cache a Predator
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Cache a Predator
Michelle Weidenbenner
Random Publishing, LLC (2014)

GOLD Medal WINNER in the 2014 READERS' FAVORITE INTERNATIONAL AWARDS Geocaching mystery. (Note: This novel is hidden in cache sites around the US and Canada.) Readers' Favorite said, "I highly recommend this book to any readers who are looking for a new, excellent crime novel that is heartrending and thought-provoking." Cache a Predator is a geocaching thriller about a father's love, justice, and the unhinged game of hide-the-cache. Officer Brett Reed will do anything to gain custody of his five-year-old daughter, Quinn. But when a judge grants Brett's drug-addicted ex-wife custody and slaps him with a protective order for losing his temper, he fears for Quinn's safety. Who will protect her now? When Quinn is found abandoned on the streets, the child is placed in a temporary foster home until Child Protective Services can complete an assessment. It should only take a few days. But a lot can happen in a few days. Especially when there's a deranged psychopath on the loose, someone who's attacking pedophiles, someone who wants to protect children like Quinn, and someone who's planting body parts in geocaching sites. Deborah Rutkowski said, "Cache a Predator" shows how predators can slip through the system and cause fear that is unimaginable to parents, family, and the government." Chloe Joyce said, "I couldn't put the book down. It was non-stop action, a lovable main character and an original plot." Jamie Gibson said, "I wanted to crawl in this book and be there to show my support. I cried, laughed, and got angry." M. Weidenbenner plants the emotion of one vigilante's mission into the cache boxes of a gripping tale that will leave readers locking their doors and pedophiles sleeping with their eyes open.

Cache a Predator
Weidenbenner, Michelle
Random Publishing (2013)

M. Weidenbenner

Cache a Predator

Copyright 2013 by M. Weidenbenner

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means without the permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Please direct requests to
[email protected]
.

This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Cover design by Cathy Helms,
http://www.avalongraphics.org

Photographers for the cover are: Elena Elisseeva (Dark Forest) and Miroslava Lipa (Girl Crying) and Scott M. Liddell from
Morguefile.com
(Girl on the Bridge),
www.scottliddell.net
.

Published by M. Weidenbenner, LLC

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN 978-0-9894049-0-7

Acknowledgements

This book wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my number one fan, my dad. He bounced edits back and forth about the plot, cheered me on, listened to my frustrations, and brainstormed titles.

Mom, on the other hand, gave me the imagination gene. Without that I wouldn’t be the dreamer, creator, and emotionally caring person I am today. Mom taught me that anything is possible in America if you want it badly enough.

A huge thanks to Susanne Lakin, my developmental editor and encourager. Even when she critiqued the bare bones of this manuscript she saw the possibilities, knew how to draw the critical elements out, and pushed me to write the best story I could.

Thank you to my beta readers:  Paul, Steve, and Tom St.Germain, Brenda Mangan, Benji Ganz, Jim Seibold, Marty Baker, Mary Clemens, Tracy Helms, and my blog partner, Robin McClure.

Thank you to Paul St.Germain, my brother, for being the best word-of-mouth marketer a writer could have. Without his enthusiasm for this project the doubt devil sitting on my shoulder would have talked me out of publishing this beast.

Thank you Tom St.Germain, my youngest brother, for giving me the best compliment a reader could give—that the story brought tears to his eyes. When a writer can move a reader to tears, we celebrate.

To Steve St.Germain, my other brother, (I have five) thank you for your edits and your confidence in the story and in keeping true to the body part.

Thank you to Dan St.Germain, my first subscriber to my blog, RANDOM WRITING RANTS, for your support in seeing the big picture of what an author must do in this ever-changing industry.

Thank you to Mark St.Germain, my oldest brother, for believing in me.

Thanks also to the following team:  Sergeant Chad Hill of the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s office for discussing crime scenes with me; John Sadler, Kosciusko Deputy Coroner, for describing a #22 scalpel, rosette key, an H-loader, a mausoleum, and what happens to an embalmed body; Michael Trobec, MD, who taught me about tourniquets, chloroform, and Ketamine, and how to slice a body part; Araceli Grant for giving me the insight to our CPS, Dr. Denise Fraser-Vaselakos, Illinois licensed clinical psychologist and writer, who helped me understand the foster care system.

For my writer’s group: Robin McClure, Monica Caples, Karrah Creamer, and Tanya Satoski. Thank you for sharing your talent and your enthusiasm over this project, for brainstorming, critiquing, editing, and creating never-ending pseudo-names. You give me an outlet for my craziness, a place where I feel free to be me, where I can imagine colorful stories and heroic characters.

Thank you to my children and grandchildren who refrain from rolling their eyes when I talk about my stories.

Finally, thank you to my number one encourager—my husband and best friend, for reminding me, “It’s only fiction, Michelle,” when I cry for my characters.

Contents

Acknowledgements

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

About the Author

“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.” Herbert Ward

Chapter One

Death was like a low-pressure system. It could occur in any season, causing storms in people so great it changed them. I saw it happen to Father when Mom died years ago.

It happened to me several weeks ago. Death caused a tornado that swirled in my head, making me braver than I’d ever been. It scared me because I had to leave my house to do something, in the dark. I didn’t want to, but I needed to prove that I was not a coward or a freak.

I clamped my teeth together and stomped my foot. I would not be called a sissy anymore. I’d show everyone. People would finally like me. And maybe they would thank me.

I dressed for the first job in black pants, a hoodie, and latex gloves, then paced in my doorway. Did I forget anything? No. I tapped my backpack and closed my eyes, picturing my supplies. The scalpel, syringes, needles, rubber bands, and baggies were in place. I counted, one, two, three, four. Yep, they were all there, each in their spot. I glanced across the room. Yes, I’d put the surgical books back on the shelf in alphabetical order.

The video played in my head, over and over again. Slice, mutilate.

Go, just go!

My heart beat fast like the train rolling on the tracks in the distance. It was just before midnight. I climbed into my truck and headed for Sheridan Street across town, past the sign “Welcome to Hursey Lake, Indiana.” After parking, I entered the graveyard exactly where I’d planned. Streetlights threw shadows onto the tombstones.

Hurry and get it done. Then you can play hide-the-cache.

My heart jumped like a ball in a gaming machine. It was the storm.

I kept my head down and hitched over the short iron fence, summer’s humidity following me in rivulets of perspiration down my back. The sky’s moon hid behind thick clouds, making it dark, but I’d memorized the map.

My feet shuffled in rhythm on the pavement, past the markers for Sarah Jane Miller, Jerome Streeter, Mabel Hudson, and so many others. I counted their stones as I passed them. There were 989 dead people present.

A dim light illuminated the mausoleum at the east end of the park, guiding me, like a spotlight on a stage. I moved toward the light.

Large tombstone shadows hovered over the smaller ones. Some stones were made of marble, but others were smaller, chipped, and decorated with flowers that had faded from the sun. The way they were lined in rows, with husbands and wives side by side and children lying near their parents, made it look like a village, like shadows of square people hiding and watching without emotion. Like me.

They were my audience. They wouldn’t make me look them in the eye.

Overgrown red petunias crept over the edges of the sidewalk, and the smell of cut grass lingered in the air.

The windowed door to the mausoleum was locked. I dropped my shoulder and slid the bag off my back. After unzipping it, I reached in for the picklock. It dangled from its circular key chain, clinking as the metal brushed against the other keys. I picked at the lock. The first one was too big. My breathing quickened, and I could feel the blood pumping in my neck. I tried the next. And the next. Finally, the fourth one fit.
Open, open
. I twisted and turned the lock.

Score.
Dr. Spear had taught me that word.

I slipped inside. My adrenaline raced. The body was so close. After closing the door, I clicked on my headband flashlight. Shadows danced across the tile floor and the granite-faced crypts as I moved my head from side to side.

I paused, rocking back and forth, remembering that night. I was eight and hiding in the toolshed. It had been dark, and the dirt floor smelled like cat pee. He was after me. My legs ached from being cramped for so long. He waved a flashlight back and forth across the floor behind old boards and tools. The light stopped on my foot. “I see you! Get the hell out of there, or I’m coming in after you, you chicken shit.”

Stop rocking! Take deep breaths like Doc Spear showed you. Concentrate on the job. That was another time. You’re in control now.

Yes, I was in control.

The room was clean and smelled of floor wax. Square-faced crypts lined two walls. The one in the center, two drawers from the top, was the one I needed. It was him.

BOOK: Cache a Predator
6.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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