MYSTERY

Murmurs of Insanity: A Moriah Dru/Richard Lake Mystery

Five Star: Cengage. Jul. 2014. 308p. ISBN 9781432828585. $25.95. M
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Atlanta children's rights advocate Moriah Dru is unsettled by "Big DD" McFersen's harassment; he is a drug lord who evaded a guilty verdict in his latest trial, despite Moriah's testimony. Moriah worries there will be trouble ahead for some of her juvenile clients. Meanwhile, Atlanta homicide detective Richard Lake's ex-wife begs him and Moriah to help her troubled half-brother, Baxter Carlisle, over in Athens. Baxter has a proclivity for dating very young women, and the police are questioning him about a missing college student. While working on Baxter's case, Moriah meets an unusual group of artists who favor "intervention art," a type of performance art. Their dark side results in some ghastly murders that do not bode well for the missing student. Back in Atlanta, DD and his gang are generating violence that sends Moriah and Richard scrambling to find two at-risk youth.
VERDICT Finger's fourth series entry (after The Devil Laughed) is bogged down with excessive details. While the book's second half features searing action and a fascinating look into contemporary arts culture, the plotting fails to switch smoothly between the two cases.

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