Sunday, October 5, 2014

MURMURS OF INSANITY



“The line between art and life should be kept as fluid, and perhaps indistinct, as possible.”—Allan Kaprow

Murmurs of Insanity—crossing the lines.

 

This fourth novel featuring Moriah Dru and Richard Lake dramatizes two separate cases. Running in the background is a case about a young would-be gang banger who witnesses a murder between drug lords and afterward disappears. In the second (primary) case Lake asks Dru to look into a missing art student at the University of Georgia. Lake is an Atlanta police detective and Moriah Dru is a private investigator specializing in tracing missing children.

Throughout my life I’ve had a keen interest in art—I’ve an easel somewhere in the attic to prove it. My interest extends to Performance art, too. Some think of it as avant-garde; and it certainly plays a role in anarchic art such as Futurism and Dada. Some see it as nihilistic, but all agree it’s a hop-step from genres like painting and sculpting. Kaprow, known as the father of “happenings”, was very clear that Performance art is not theater, but, to me, it certainly involves theatrics.

As action art, the artist or artists feel the need to challenge the conventions of traditional art and of society. Doctrine is tested. Brainwashed concepts mocked. In the case of the artists in Murmurs, the trail of Performance clues are meant to shake up a complacent community. What could go wrong?

I’ve tried to show in these divergent cases that societal insanity compels the thuggish and vile in the real world, while in the artist community of a college town, insanity shows up as contrived and annoying. Be that as it may seem, in the end Murmurs of Insanity is a murder mystery.

Oh, and about the cover—dolls give me the creeps. They look like the dead.

 

A Review:

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. – Carl Brookins

 

Available online, in book stores and libraries. Ask your bookseller or librarian if it is not stocked yet.

Also in the Dru/Lake series:

The End Game

The Last Temptation

The Devil Laughed.

Running with Wild Blood – Jan. 2015

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Decatur Book Festival - a Southern city goes book crazy

Dear Readers, Fans and Fellow Writers,

I will be on an Atlanta Writers Club panel on Sunday, August 31 at 5 p.m. at the Decatur Book Festival in Decatur, GA., discussing my book MURMURS OF INSANITY. A moderator and three fellow panelists will also be discussing their latest releases and experiences in the writing life.

Please come visit us and have a wonderful experience connecting with us and other book nuts across the Southeast. After the program, at around 6 p.m., I (we) will be signing books.



I invite you to read a review by Carl Brookins, an excellent reviewer of all things book.


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


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


 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Preview: MURMURS OF INSANITY -- 4th in the Nationally Award-Winning Series -- released July 16

Order online
http://amzn.to/1qnIZf6




Murmurs of Insanity
 
A Moriah Dru/Richard Lake Mystery
  
by Gerrie Ferris Finger
 
Teen Johndro Phillips is missing after witnessing a drug deal turn to murder in his Atlanta nighborhood. Johndro is a spotter and runner for drug lord Devus Dontel “Big DD” McFersen, who was acquitted when Johndro couldn’t testify against himself.

Lake asks Dru to talk to his ex-wife, Linda. Seems her half-brother’s predilection for young women has gotten him mixed up with the student art community, two of whom go missing. Damian Hansel, his friend Arne Trammel and the mysterious Cho Martine devised a Conceptual Art Performance to shake up the tranquil community. Articles of Damian's turn up on nature trails, and, absent a body, the police think it's a treasure hunt scheme concocted by bored students. Dru thinks not.


From Five Star/Cengage


"The Home of Rising Stars in Today’s Fiction


Gerrie Ferris Finger is a retired journalist and author of several novels, three published in the Moriah Dru/Richard Lake series: The End Game, The Last Temptation and The Devil Laughed. Murmurs of Insanity is the third in the series published by Five Star. 

PRAISE FOR GERRIE FERRIS FINGER:
“A hunt for two young sisters propels Finger’s compelling if at times sobering debut, which
won the 2009 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition . . . A wellresearched plot and snappy dialogue — plus some fine rail-yard K-9 detecting by Buddy, a German shepherd, and Jed, a Labrador retriever — keep the action moving."
Publishers Weekly on The End Game

“When 12-year-old Kinley Whitney and her mother vanish in the midst of a contentious custody fight between her divorced parents, Judge Portia Devon appoints ex-cop Moriah Dru, who specializes in finding missing children, to locate Kinley. The mother, Eileen Cameron, has a history of drug problems, whereas the professor father, Bradley Whitney, has unexplained sources of wealth and ties to a mysterious men’s club in Atlanta.”
Publishers Weekly on The Last Temptation"



Posted by Gerrie Ferris Finger
http://amzn.to/1qnIZf6


Monday, February 10, 2014

THE GHOST SHIP -- Most highlighted



"'There is in life only one moment, and in eternity only one. It is so brief that it is represented by the fleeting of a luminous mote through the thin ray of sunlight - and it is visible but a fraction of a second. The moments that preceded it have been lived, are forgotten and are without value; the moments that have not been lived have no existence and will have no value except in the moment that each shall be lived. While you are asleep you are dead; and whether you stay dead an hour or a billion years the time to you is the same.’” -- Mark Twain

Paperback and e-book
http://amzn.to/r3imp5


Gerrie Ferris Finger
WHISPERING
THE END GAME
THE LAST TEMPTATION
THE DEVIL LAUGHED
MURMURS OF INSANITY - July 2014



Thursday, December 12, 2013

THE DEVIL LAUGHED - Third in the Award-winning Moriah Dru Series





Judge Portia Devon invites Moriah Dru, Richard Lake and his daughter to Lake Lanier, north of Atlanta, for the Fourth of July weekend. There Dru spots the stern of a missing sailboat. It went down in a storm when the lake was full pool. Four years later, the area is suffering one of the worst droughts in its history, thus revealing the large boat.

Four passengers were aboard the sailboat, last seen docked with the drunken boaters raising hell at the marina's restaurant. Johnny Brown's body was found the next day floating in the no-wake zone; the other three disappeared with the sailboat.  Because of their lecherous behavior and wealthy status they had been the topic of gossip ever since. When the sailboat was raised there were no bodies aboard, reinforcing the rumor that Laurant Cocineau and Candice Brown, Johnny's wife, also got rid of Janet Cocineau, Laurant's wife, and fled to Rio, a place they'd clandestinely visited before.

Evangeline, Candace's daughter by her first husband, believes her mother is alive and wants to hire Dru to find her. Dru is a child finder, and Evangeline is a precocious, demanding twelve-year-old, but Dru acquiesces because, by spotting the boat, she feels invested in the case. She'll have help from Lake, an Atlanta police detective.

This twisted tale of jealousy, greed and downright evil takes us from the North Georgia mountains to the wine country of Cape Fear, N. C. where the grapes become part of the wrath.

Happy reading,

Gerrie

At Amazon:  http://amzn.to/14cExnt
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/16SKAPT

Friday, December 6, 2013

Welcome William S. Shepard to my blog

  Let me introduce my guest for the next few days, William S. Shepard, a prize-winning author of the new mystery genre the diplomatic thriller.



  Now residents of Maryland's Eastern Shore, the Shepards enjoy visits from their daughters and granddaughters, fine and moderate weather, ocean swims at Assateague, Chesapeake Bay crabs, and the company of Rajah and Rani, their two rescued cats.

  Shepard's diplomatic mysteries are set in American Embassies overseas. That mirrors Shepard’s own career in the Foreign Service of the United States, during which he served in Singapore, Saigon, Budapest, Athens and Bordeaux, in addition to five Washington tours of duty.

  His diplomatic mystery books explore this rich, insider background into the world of high stakes diplomacy and government. His main character is a young career diplomat, Robbie Cutler. The first four books in the series are available as Ebooks. Shepard evokes his last Foreign Service post, Consul General in Bordeaux, in Vintage Murder, the first of the series of five “diplomatic mysteries.” The second, Murder On The Danube, mines his knowledge of Hungary and the 1956 Revolution. In Murder In Dordogne Robbie Cutler and his bride Sylvie are just married, but their honeymoon in the scenic southwest of France is interrupted by murders.



  The Saladin Affair, next in the series, has Robbie Cutler transferred to work for the Secretary of State. Like the author once did, Cutler arranges trips on Air Force Two – now enlivened by serial Al Qaeda attempts to assassinate the Secretary of State, as they travel to Dublin, London, Paris, Vienna, Riga and Moscow! And who killed the American Ambassador in Dublin?



  The Great Game Murders is the most recent of the series. There is another trip by the Secretary of State, this time to Southeast Asia, India, China and Afghanistan. The duel between Al Qaeda and the United States continues, this time with Al Qaeda seeking to expand its reach with the help of a regional great power nation. And Robbie Cutler’s temporary duty (TDY) assignment to Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, carries its own perils. Fortunately, Uncle Seth helps unravel his perilous Taliban captivity in time!

***
                        
Now we'll hear from William on:

Treating Real And Real Time Events In Fiction

  My series of diplomatic mysteries now has five novels. All are, to some extent, based on fact. The first, “Vintage Murder,” concerns the Basque extremist organization ETA. Then “Murder On The Danube” takes as its background the heroic Hungarian Revolution of 1956. “Murder In Dordogne,” interrupts the honeymoon of my two main characters in an idyllic French rural landscape with murders past and present, as remnants from the Occupation still have present consequences. Then “The Saladin Affair Murders” has Al Qaeda tracking the Secretary of State on his first official trip to London, Dublin, Paris, Vienna, Riga and Moscow. Lastly, the latest novel, “The Great Game Murders,” explores real time events including the war in Afghanistan, and cyber warfare.

  I’ve found that exploring actual events, sometimes in real time, while undergirding the story with a realistic background, presents both opportunities and pitfalls, which may be of interest to readers and fellow authors. First, of course, is to get the actual events right. In “Murder On The Danube,” for example, survivors of the twelve days of street fighting know what was going on every day, in each quarter of Budapest. The problem I thought was to make sure that this material was accurately presented, without the detail overwhelming the story. But I wanted to present a modern story as well, and therein lay the problem. The political scene kept changing with every election, and I wrote at least three different drafts of that evolving situation, trying to get it just right. I finally realized that no words of mine were ever going to fix a changing political situation, and so I settled for a realistic, somewhat broad brush background that let the main story emerge. That was lesson number one – a background is going to continue to evolve, and the writer cannot fix it like a bug preserved in amber. The balance is to have just enough background for realism, while letting the main story proceed.

  How is it possible to balance a terrorist subplot with a murder mystery? This new diplomatic mystery genre is still evolving, and I surely don’t have all of the answers yet. But in “The Saladin Affair Murders,” the murder of the American Ambassador to Dublin seemed to fit well into the overall plot. And I found that Al Qaeda’s plans to assassinate the Secretary of State in three different locations were best foiled by good police and intelligence work, not dissimilar to detection of a nonpolitical crime, such as murder.

  In “The Great Game Murders,” there is a duel between Al Qaeda and the United States, as the Secretary of State visits Southeast Asia, India, Afghanistan and China. Here I incorporate what is known of Al Qaeda’s methods, with the addition of a further nightmare – a possible link between that terrorist group, and a Great Power. Since that is fanciful I am free to speculate on how such a link might develop. You’ll see the consequences in the chapter on the Secretary of State’s secret visit to Beijing!
As part of the plot line, Robbie Cutler becomes suspicious that private email communications may have been intercepted or compromised in some way. He learns about cyber warfare, and uses what he learns to thwart a plot against the Secretary of State during their visit to Goa, on the Indian Ocean coast. This was rewarding to research and to write, and the lessons may be more broadly applicable than this fictional account!

  Afghanistan is of course presented in real time. Here I use the conflict as background for Robbie Cutler’s temporary duty (TDY) assignment to Kandahar Province. Together with official military and USAID colleagues, he builds a well in a small forsaken village, which had no clean water supply. It is an almost biblical undertaking, and several readers have said that they liked this segment best. The needs of the people continue due to and in spite of the conflict, and there seems to be a timeless quality about the well digging. I rather like that in a novel set against actual news events.

  And so, against this background of five novels, I think it is possible to draw a few conclusions. First, get your history right. (The background of the Basque terrorist group ETA and its emergence as a dangerous group was established in “Vintage Murder.” “Murder In Dordogne” contains a number of London radio message to the French Underground, set in exactly the style of the time.) But don’t let your story become the prisoner of its historical setting, no matter how fascinating that may be. Next, the fact that you may be writing against a real time background has its own perils. Don’t let your story become prisoner of tomorrow’s headlines. Don’t be afraid to use new technology, such as cyber warfare, in your story. But always remember that the story is the important thing, not the background against which it is set. For we all love to read an interesting, well paced story, with evolving characters, now don’t we?

***

Note:
I can't wait to read this latest in the series. I loved "Murder on the Danube."

Amazon.com: Murder On The Danube (Robbie Cutler Diplomatic Mysteries) eBook: William S. Shepard: Kindle Store

***

Thanks so much William for creating Robbie and sharing your thoughts.

Gerrie Ferris Finger
Author of:
THE END GAME
THE LAST TEMPTATION
THE DEVIL LAUGHED
MURMURS OF INSANITY - July 2014