Twenty-five years ago, Lauren Phelps and her sister Patty were kidnapped from their backyard on Long Island. Lauren escaped her captor, but Patty was killed.
Ever since, Lauren has suffered from nightmares of the “Shadow Man.” Trying to recall his face and avenge her sister’s murder, Lauren, now a kidnapping investigator, enrolls in a clinical trial for a new memory drug.
At the offices of Memory Makers in California, she receives the injections of the Memory Makers' serum, and begins to experience flashbacks of repressed memories. Along with the flashbacks, she receives threats from an anonymous source that point back to her childhood trauma.
Soon, Lauren becomes involved with a fellow trial participant who seeks to recall his own traumatic past. But can Lauren discover the identity of the “Shadow Man” before history repeats itself?
Lauren, We may have found a lead on Corey. An anonymous woman called his parents’ house and said they saw a baby boy meeting his description with a tall, bearded man at a 7 Eleven in Hicksville. We spoke to the manager there and showed him Corey’s photo. He said he wasn’t sure but that it may have been him. We also asked him to meet with Ellen to draw up a sketch of the man accompanying the baby. I’ll keep you posted on our progress. Hope all is well with you.”
I closed the email and took a deep breath. Ellen was the profiler for the department. She was an excellent artist who could draw down to the smallest detail what witnesses described. She’d helped Brian and I find several missing kids, the lucky ones that were found alive. Mostly they were victims of parental abduction where a non-custodial parent, often a father, took the law into his own hands by snatching his child. I knew this wasn’t the case with Corey because, when we’d first gotten it, both parents were living together and equally disturbed by their baby’s disappearance.
I didn’t bother recording the email in my night journal. No one needed to know about my private business. Laying down in bed after my night preparations, I kept thinking of Corey. My mind visualized the one-year-old, the sandy tufts of hair, blue twinkling eyes. I hoped the lead proved fruitful and only wished I was still there on the case.
After a long time of restlessly trying to sleep, wondering if I’d have another dream of the Shadow Man or if my first injection would finally start to work and I would have a flashback, I began to doze. I was awoken suddenly from my light, dreamless slumber by the ring of my cell phone that I’d placed at the side of my bed. Thinking it was Rick with more news, I grabbed for it.
A rough voice that could’ve been male or female answered my “hello.”
“I remember you,” the gravelly voice said. “You and Patty.” Then it clicked off.
Debbie De Louise is an award-winning author and a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters-in-Crime, and the Cat Writer’s Association. She has a BA in English and an MLS in Library Science from Long Island University. Her seven published novels include the 4 books of her Cobble Cove cozy mystery series: A Stone's Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Written in Stone, and Love on the Rocks, her paranormal romance, Cloudy Rainbow, her mystery thriller Reason to Die, and her latest psychological mystery, Sea Scope. She also published a romantic comedy novella featuring a jewel heist caper, When Jack Trumps Ac. Debbie has also written articles and short stories for several anthologies of various genres. She is currently querying agents to represent the first book of a new cozy mystery series. She lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and three cats.
My new mystery release, Memory Makers, revolves around two sisters – Lauren and Patty Phelps. The two girls were very young when they were kidnapped from their backyards. Lauren, the younger sister, was only 3; Patty was 5 that summer day a man abducted them from the sandbox in which they were playing. Lauren escaped her captors, but Patty was later found dead. For years, Lauren had nightmares of the “shadow man.” At 28, and a kidnap investigator, she learns of a clinical trial of a new memory drugs and volunteers for it in the hope or recalling the face of the man who murdered her sister.
As Lauren begins to recall pieces of her past, she faces facts about her relationship with Patty and her parents that she hadn’t consciously acknowledged. Patty was both her mother and father’s favorites. Her father referred to his eldest daughter as “Baby Doll,” while he called Lauren “Little Squeaker.” When they spent time with their parents, Patty was always the one who got to choose the game to play, the book to read, or the place to go. Twenty-five years after Patty’s death, Lauren, suffering from survivor’s guilt at her sister’s death, also still feels the jealousy from her childhood that she needs to come to terms with. This guilt motivates her further to avenge Patty’s murder.
Like Lauren, I also have an older sister. However, we are 15 years apart, not two. That makes a big difference. I was the baby of the family with two older brothers, as well. Do any of you have siblings with whom you have a love/hate relationship or a child of your own who you might favor over another? I only have a daughter, but I know that it must be difficult for parents of multiple children to show equal affection to each one. That doesn’t mean you love either child any less, but it may appear that way to the child who seeks more attention and affection from a parent.
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