Vanished, by Barbara Ann Derksen (Smashwords Edition, 2010)
Vanished is book one in the Wilton-Strait Murder Mystery series from Canadian author Barbara Ann Derksen. The novel opens with the abduction of Trent and Diane Michner and their young son, Jeffrey.
Andrea Wilton and Brian Strait, each a good friend of the Michners but not well-acquainted with one another despite attending the same church, discover the empty house and the signs of struggle, and become the newest targets of their friends’ enemies.
A dying man warns them not to trust the police, and launches them on an investigation that leads from the US to Haiti. This is pre-2010-earthquake Haiti, and the author’s knowledge of the island and of diving add a feel of authenticity.
I’m used to a deeper, more immediate point of view, which raises the suspense and builds a stronger connection with the characters. But the story is intriguing, and those readers who prefer a gentler mystery will find the novel a satisfying read.
The search for the missing family is the main plot, with subplots following Andrea and Brian’s developing relationship and their friendship with a young Haitian orphan girl. Readers interested in orphanages that care for Haitian children will also find the book interesting.
Canadian author Barbara Ann Derksen is a multi-published author of fiction and non-fiction, including a series of devotional books for bikers. Book two in the Wilton-Strait series, Presumed Dead, delves into the biker world. You can learn more about the author, including her books and speaking ministry, at her website.
[Electronic review copy provided by the author in exchange for a fair review.]