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Predator
     

Predator

4.5 68
by Terri Blackstock
 

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Bestselling author Terri Blackstock presents another stand-alone novel, Predator. The murder of Krista Carmichael’s fourteen-year-old sister by an online predator has shaken her faith and made her question God’s justice and protection. Desperate to find the killer, she creates an online persona to bait the predator. But when the stalker turns his sights

Overview

Bestselling author Terri Blackstock presents another stand-alone novel, Predator. The murder of Krista Carmichael’s fourteen-year-old sister by an online predator has shaken her faith and made her question God’s justice and protection. Desperate to find the killer, she creates an online persona to bait the predator. But when the stalker turns his sights on her, will Krista be able to control the outcome? Ryan Adkins started the social network GrapeVyne in his college dorm and has grown it into a billion-dollar corporation. But he never expected it to become a stalking ground for online Predators. One of them lives in his town and has killed two girls and attacked a third. When Ryan meets Krista, the murders become more than a news story to him, and everything is on the line. Joining forces, he and Krista set out to stop the killer. But when hunters pursue a hunter, the tables can easily turn. Only God can protect them now.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780310250661
Publisher:
Zondervan
Publication date:
05/24/2010
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
334,270
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Predator

A Novel
By Terri Blackstock

Zondervan

Copyright © 2010 Terri Blackstock
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-25066-1


Chapter One

They would find her sister today. Krista had felt it in her gut all morning as she'd assembled the volunteer search teams to comb the acres of wooded land behind the high school. Their search was for her little sister's body-not a living, breathing Ella-but she'd clung to the hope that Ella hunkered somewhere unharmed. Elizabeth Smart, Shawn Hornbeck, and Jaycee Dugard had all been found alive. Even after two weeks, Ella could be too.

Security video near the place where she was last seen showed Ella riding her bike up to the curb across the street from a convenience store. As she waited to cross the street, a black van had driven up beside her, blocking her image for a moment. Then, when the van moved, Ella was gone, and her bike lay toppled over in the street.

In the days that followed, hundreds of volunteers had searched the area around the store, gone door-to-door in the neighborhoods nearby, and trampled every field or wooded area within a five-mile radius.

And they were still looking, hoping beyond hope ...

But when the police car arrived and pulled up to the registration table, Krista's throat tightened. News vans had followed the squad car, and as the officer got out, reporters flurried around him.

Krista froze in the field, staring at the activity, unable to move. Her phone rang, startling her. Her hand was clammy as she pulled the phone out of her pocket and flipped it open. "Hello?"

"Hon, there's a policeman here," her friend Carla said. "He wants to talk to you."

"I see him," Krista said. "I'm coming." She stood there a moment as she flipped the phone shut, carefully slid it into her pocket. Then she stepped through the tall weeds, no longer examining every blade of grass for any sign that her sister had been here. She kept her eyes on the officer as she slowly made her way toward him.

The volunteers who hadn't yet been deployed to look for Ella stood motionless, silent as she approached. Cold wind whipped her hair into her face, and she hugged herself to stop her shivering. "You found her, didn't you?" she said through chapped lips.

The officer hesitated. "Krista, I'm Lieutenant Baron. Is there somewhere we can speak privately?"

"In my car," she said and pointed out her Kia on the curb. She glanced at the reporters, wondering what they knew. Pulling her keys out of her pocket, she headed for her car. Lieutenant Baron followed.

As they got in, Krista swallowed the knot in her throat. Ella wasn't dead. She couldn't be. It was all a big mistake. Maybe they'd found her alive. Maybe she was okay.

Lieutenant Baron closed the passenger door and looked down at his hands.

"Tell me," she demanded. "What's going on?"

"We found a girl's body."

Krista stared at him, numb. "Is it Ella?"

"We're not sure. She didn't have identification on her ... We need you to come and identify her."

Now the numbness gave way, and a slow, burning rage climbed in her chest. "Where?"

"In a wooded area on Chastain Boulevard, behind the old Martin Lumber building."

"That wouldn't be her," Krista said quickly. "She would never go to that area." As she said it, she knew it wasn't rational. Ella was abducted. She had no control.

"She was clearly taken there," he said.

Taken there. The rage faded into nausea. She pictured her little sister fighting some killer for her life. Ella, who trusted everyone. The shock of betrayal would have been the precursor to murder.

"It may not be your sister at all, but we have to make sure. We tried to reach your father, but he didn't answer his phone and he isn't home."

"He's at the other search site, over by Lake Lora."

He made a note. "We'll get somebody over there."

Krista's voice came out hoarse. "Where is she?"

"She's still where they found her. The crime scene investigators are still working the scene. We could have waited until she was at the morgue, but Detective Pensky knew you had all these volunteers out searching. He didn't want you broadsided by reporters who got to you first."

She looked down at her hands. They were dirty, damp with sweat, even though it was forty degrees.

She nodded then, trying to make her brain work in systematic steps. Step one, breathe. Step two, go to the site. Step three, look at the body. Step four, tell them it's not Ella.

But she couldn't seem to move.

"Ma'am, would you like for me to drive you to the site?"

She tried to think. Could she even drive? Her mind veered off, touching on places where she could reach her father. Why wasn't he answering his phone? He'd kept it with him day and night since Ella's disappearance. Then again, phone reception was spotty at the lake.

"Ma'am?"

"Yes," she said, not sure what she was answering. "I mean, no. I'll drive myself."

"All right," he said. "I'll escort you." He opened his door, started to get out. "Ma'am, are you sure you can drive?"

Her face burned, though her body shivered. She wiped the perspiration from above her lips. "Yes, I'm fine." She started her car.

"I'm not going to talk to the reporters," he said, "but should I tell the volunteers to stop searching?"

Krista looked out her windshield. Most of the volunteers had returned to their starting point and were huddled in a crowd, staring in her direction. The teens from the Eagle's Wings girls' center, where Krista worked, had come in a van to help. She had so wanted these inner-city girls to see their fragile prayers answered for Ella. They stood in a huddle with Carla, the ministry's director, expressions of dread on their faces.

"It might not be Ella," she said aloud. "Tell them to keep searching."

Lieutenant Baron got out of the car, and she sat staring as he said something to the crowd, then walked away from the curious reporters and got into his car. He pulled out, and she followed him.

That flame of hope still flickered inside her. Maybe Ella was hiding somewhere, scared to death, afraid to answer the calls for her. Maybe if they just searched a little bit harder ...

The police officer turned on his blue flashing light, and she followed him through Houston traffic. She glanced in her rearview mirror and saw reporters' vans following behind her. Like vultures hunting down corpses, they were going to record this nightmare no matter who claimed the body.

Krista thought of trying to call her father, but it might be better if she waited until she saw the girl. There was no point in crushing his hopes if it wasn't Ella. He was already distraught enough. Besides, they'd have a policeman at his search site in no time.

In minutes they were at the site-a patch of woods on a lonely, rural road-where a dozen police cars and a couple of television news vans sat haphazardly in front of a roped- off area. She double-parked next to a police car and got out, pushing through the crowd at the crime-scene tape. A reporter was taping a stand-up before a camera.

"Police say the body was found by two ten-year-old kids who were walking through the woods. The girl was partially buried, but part of her head was exposed. We're waiting to hear if this is the body of fourteen-year-old Ella Carmichael, who went missing two weeks ago."

Buried? Dizziness swept over her, sweat beaded on her face. Krista looked past the reporter, into the woods where all the activity seemed to be. Through the trees, about fifty yards away, she saw people moving around. Though she strained, she couldn't see the girl.

The reporter noticed her and led her cameraman over. "Krista, can I have a word with you?" she asked, sticking a mike in Krista's face.

"No." Krista ducked under the tape.

"Is it your sister?" the reporter called behind her. "Have they asked you to identify the body?"

Krista ignored the questions and shot toward the activity, but a cop stopped her. "Ma'am, you can't go back there."

She was about to shake him off and push through, when Lieutenant Baron came to her side. "It's okay. They asked for her."

He took her arm and walked her toward the investigators. When she reached them, she realized the body was another twenty-five yards beyond them. "You can't go any closer," the Lieutenant said in a soft voice. "There could be footprints or trace evidence. We can't risk disturbing the site. Only the CSIs are allowed near the body right now, but they'll give you the chance to see her soon."

Nausea rose, but she stood paralyzed, staring toward the mound of dirt where the girl lay. She couldn't see a thing. Not what she was wearing or the color of her hair ...

The girl was still in the hole where she'd been buried. Images flashed through Krista's mind of Ella being buried alive ...

No, she told herself. It isn't Ella. It isn't Ella. It isn't Ella. When would they let her see her, so Krista could set things straight and go back to search for her sister?

Icy wind whistled through the trees, and Krista thought of Ella out in the elements, crushed by dirt, and freezing rain pouring down on her. Who could do such a thing?

Not Ella. Not Ella.

She heard thunder. The sky had grown appropriately dark, as if it mourned the passing of this young life. It was going to rain. They would have to move the girl soon, or whatever evidence was still on her body would be washed away.

Krista waited, willing back the numbness, certain she wouldn't recognize the girl. As the first raindrops fell, a man in a medical examiner's jacket took in a gurney, and Krista watched as they pulled the body from its shallow tomb. She saw the pink-striped shirt that Ella was wearing that last day. Blonde hair matted with blood and earth.

Her knees went weak, turned to rubber. She dropped and hit the ground. At once, a crowd of police surrounded her, asking if she was okay. She blinked and sat up, let them pull her back to her feet.

Ella!

She heard footsteps pounding the dirt.

"Aw, no! No! It can't be her!" Her father's voice, raspy and heart-wrenching, wailed out over the crowd. She wanted to go to him, comfort him, but it was as though her hands were bound to her sides and her legs wouldn't move.

As they brought the girl closer, Krista saw the bloody, bruised face. Ella's face.

The search was over. Her sister was dead.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Predator by Terri Blackstock Copyright © 2010 by Terri Blackstock. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com Facebook: tblackstock Twitter: @terriblackstock

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Predator 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was very good. It definitely puts things into perspective as far as these various networks are concerned such as facebook and twitter. Gives an eye opener on just how dangerous things can get. It is a must read 4 sure. You will not be disappointed! God bless!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A really good read!
CASSnKY More than 1 year ago
If you are a social networker...it is a MUST read!! Just don't get TOOOO paranoid!
teacher_louisiana More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book and I encourage anyone who frequents social network sites to read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Terri Blackstock writes the most captivating stories! I am never disappointed. This book is no exception. She has your attention from the first page and it's hard to put it down!
Cydonia More than 1 year ago
I originally read Blackstock's Restoration series. This was the first book I read after that series and now I am on the Cape Refuge series. This book was well written, suspenseful, thought-provoking and grounded with Christian lessons. After reading this book I have altered my social-networking habits. Very well done.
mrsred49 More than 1 year ago
If you're a member of any networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or MySpace I urge you to listen to this audio book. If you've not been too concerned about the amount of information that you're giving out when participating online, or if you're putting yourself at risk this story will make you think twice. Are you being friends to people that are complete strangers? This story is a perfect example of how technology can be used for good and evil. It was an eye opener and made me think long and hard about my own sites and I am a great-grandmother. The storyline revolves around an online predator who is stalking people through the GrapeVyne network. As the predator makes friends with strangers online, they are able to gather information to target their victims and to murder them. In every case, the victim brings the predator right to them by sharing details of their locations and their activities. When Krista Carmichael's young teenage sister is kidnapped and then brutally beaten, raped and murdered, Krista goes on a mission to find the predator. Krista discovers that her sister has over a thousand friends in the network, and that the killer used online information to target her sister. Krista begins to investigate and discovers how the slope of internet networking can be, when used incorrectly. She tries to prevent others from making the same mistakes that her sister made and begins talking to young teenage girls about their online activities. In an effort to find her sisters killer, Krista sets up a bogus online identity in an attempt to lure the killer to her doorstep. Krista also implores the help of Ryan Adkins, the CEO of GrapeVyne, much to the chagrin of his board members. If you enjoy a good mystery then you will enjoy this story, but beware that you may want to watch what you list on you internet pages. This audio book was sent to me by Zondervan publishing for review.
MiMi_T More than 1 year ago
Awesome book! I have read every single one of her books and she always brings something new to the table each and every time. The reality of "Predator" is very real in today's society. I know that it made me think about things I do post online about myself or family! Great book! Highly highly recommend....even or especially for teenagers too!!!
mothano31 More than 1 year ago
Terri Blackstock has done it again! I loved this book it was AWESOME!!!
LJN More than 1 year ago
Predator is a very timely book. Blackstock deals with the issue of too much personal information given out online and how this information can be used in a very negative way. The book is written in a way that draws the reader in. I didn't want to put the book down. "Disclosure: I work for Zondervan".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Computers and cyber crime interest me and Terri Blackstock did an excellent job of researching the material in this book.
train_lady More than 1 year ago
Good mystery with a well needed warning about posting too much info to social networking web sites. I must say this book had a good mix of danger and romance. But the most important takeaway I think is the emphasis on caution when using social networking web sites. In many cases, the poster may not even know what information is being posted, such as the location of where a photo was taken by a cell phone. Bad guys can use this to track the poster, or at least know when they are not at home (think burglary). Emotions run hot is this book. Desire for revenge, feelings of helplessness, desire to help others avoid the pain, suffering, and even death from bad decisions regarding use of social networking web sites are all here. Well done Ms Blackstock!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great book from Terri Blackstock!
More_Than_A_Review More than 1 year ago
Predator I am a fan of Terry Blackstock. She has amazing thrillers it will keep you on the edge of your seat. However this is my second book where the female lead is annoying (part of this could be due to the audio book).  The storyline is that Krista’s 14 year old sister was murdered brutally by an online predator following her on Grapevine. Krista’s faith is shaken and she questions God’s justice and protection.  Krista blames the online platform a little too much in my opinion. The other main character is the man who built Grapevine to eventually be a multi million dollar platform. He ends up helping her by using Grapevine to try to find the killer When the second girl has captured you were on the edge of your seat to try and find out what's going to happen. You will be holding your breath. Blackstock did an amazing job of showing us how the dad dealt with the situation of his daughter being beaten  and murdered and then how Krista, the sister, handled it in a totally different way. Megan a secondary character added a ton of suspense to the story. You can see my full review at More Than a Review dot com where I rate the level of sex, violence, language and drug/alcohol use in books.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Iove this book it is so awesome now I know not to spread all my business on the Internet
I_like_clean_reads More than 1 year ago
All parents who have tweens or teenagers on social networking sites need to read this book; it makes one think twice about how much information is publicized and how it can make us more vulnerable to predators. It is a heart wrenching book, however, with the main theme being how the rape and murder of a young teen girl affects her family. Maybe I am expecting too much in her Christian messages, though, as I thought this one was a little watered down from other books. Nonetheless, it is a riveting and excellent read. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Victoriansmile More than 1 year ago
Good reading all the way through with good ending.
catlady911 More than 1 year ago
i've read and very much enjoyed many others by this author that i found this one flat, the characters unreal, the whole thing just drug along as though she simply wanted to write a book on this topic and here it was. she is capable of much better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down and when I did, I reviewed and updated all privacy, account and app settings on my Facebook account. I thought it was all set to private, but could not believe how much information my apps and the apps of others could access! This book was a great read, but also opened my eyes to how much of our information is shared, even if we don't post our daily activities and have our Facebook account set to private. Even if you choose not to read this book, take the message that it sends and review every single setting on your social networks to protect your privacy and that of your friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Choose a species ,alien,marine,or predator. For alien go to res 2. For predator res3. For marine res4 . Bios in res 5 When your an alien you have to start out as a facehugger and jump somebody to become a alien . Predators will start out as youngbloods kill other things to become a warrior As a marine you will be a recruit and work your way up. Alien bio info. Just type what species you are and say if your a drone or a warrior Predator bio. Species and what rank you are Marine. Species and weapons. And res 6 is the forest where facehuggers can jump on animals
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Terri Blackstock does not disappoint. You don't see the end coming. Loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago