Gerrie Ferris Finger takes on a cold case with a little different angle in her latest Moriah Dru/Richard Lake mystery, The Devil Laughed. The couple ends up in northern Georgia, in "One of those counties where people deal their own justice", and they just don't know who to trust in their search for answers.
It was supposed to be a 4th of July getaway for the busy couple. Moriah, the owner of Child Trace, a private investigation agency, and Lake, a homicide cop, hoped to relax at Judge Portia Devon's. But, when Moriah spies a submerged boat, the trip turns into a trip into the past. Four years earlier, the Scuppernong, a sailboat with two couples on it, disappeared. Johnny Browne's body had shown up, but the other bodies never did. Rumors were that Candace Browne and Laurent Cocineau might have killed Laurent's wife and disappeared together. But, Candace's daughter, Evangeline, doesn't believe her mother was dead, or that she had killed anyone, and the wealthy young heiress is prepared to pay for answers.
Money talks, and Moriah finds herself with a twelve-year-old as a client, as she searches for a missing woman.. When she finds out how controlling Evangeline is, and sees the reactions of the townspeople to her investigation, Moriah thinks, "I had sold my soul for a hundred grand." As the couple talks to people who all seem to be related to each other, people who are determined to keep secrets, Dru and Lake grow more certain there are deadly secrets to uncover. Someone knows what happened to the people from the Scuppernong.
Finger creates a fascinating case for Moriah Dru, but gives her one of the most demanding, obnoxious clients in a mystery. However, Evangeline's character works for this story. What doesn't work as well is the large cast of northern Georgia characters who are all intermarried and connected. It's difficult to keep the cast straight. The connections between the people who disappeared are also difficult to keep together. Saying that, the mystery of the Scuppernong is intriguing. The black humor common to cops and detectives permeates the novel. It's perfect for this book. Moriah Dru and Richard Lake are the best part of the mystery, two strong characters who work well as a team.
Take a trip into northern Georgia, where the townspeople hid deadly secrets, and The Devil Laughed.
Gerrie Ferris Finger's website is www.gerrieferrisfinger.com
The Devil Laughed by Gerrie Ferris Finger. Five Star. 2013. ISBN 9781432826970 (hardcover), 300p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me copy of the book, hoping I would review it.