Book Review: Murmurs of Insanity by Gerrie Ferris Finger

Murmurs of InsanityMurmurs of Insanity
A Moriah Dru / Richard Lake Mystery
Gerrie Ferris Finger
Five Star, July 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4328-2858-5

This is an outstanding, complicated, complex, emotionally fraught, novel of murder, and manipulation. It requires careful and thoughtful attention to the details of the crimes, the motivations of the characters and the movement of the plot. The rewards for readers are substantial. Yes, character development and explication is important. Yes, the relationships among the main characters, and there are many, are vital, but, unlike many modern crime novels, in this story the plot is an important and sturdy factor.

Since pictographs were scratched into cave walls in the pre-modern era seven thousand years ago, art movements have been subjects for pity, scorn, adulation and ignorance. A modern phenomenon, performance art, plays an important part in this novel, which is set between Atlanta and Athens, Georgia. Some characters, Baxter, Moira Dru, Richard Lake among them, are the principal players. Each is a finely drawn, complex character whose motivations and background influence their attitudes and their actions. One of the interesting elements of the novel is the depth to which the author probes the decisions of the detectives and the way they are influenced by their training, experience and their personal backgrounds.

The other characters, some important to the development of the plot, are less well developed which might be a deficiency, but the pace of the story is at the least adequate and at times, exhilarating. The essence of the plot is the semi-automatic assumptions—several of them—made by police, family, and others about a series of circumstances. In this case, a missing student, tenuously linked to a wealthy restaurateur, is the original incident. The student’s girl friend is accusing the wealthy restaurateur who has a history of tangles with young women. Moira Dru, with aid from her lover, Atlanta detective Lake, drills down to get at the truth of the matter and discovers many surprises, some of which threaten Dru’s existence. A fine, thoughtful novel, well-written and packing plenty of action and surprise.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, June 2014.
Author of Red Sky, Devils Island, Hard Cheese, Reunion.