Mysteries by Gerrie Ferris Finger

THE LAST TEMPTATION

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Second in the Moriah Dru/Richard Lake Series

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The Story

Recovering addict Eileen Cameron and her daughter Kinley Whitney have vanished from Eileen's Palm Springs home. Kinley's custodial father, Bradley Whitney, lives in Atlanta. Eileen and Bradley are locked in a custody battle, and Bradley believes Eileen has taken Kinley to hide with the Indians in the desert. The court hires Moriah Dru of Child Trace to find and bring Kinley home.

Bradley's academic credentials are solid, but Dru is wary. He's rich and involved with the secretive Cloisters. Dru and lover, police Lieutenant Richard Lake, delve into Bradley's past, while Lake investigates the Atlanta Suburban Girl murders.

In Palm Springs, Dru meets a host of glitzy suspects, including Dartagnan LeRoi, a cop; Arlo Cameron, Eileen's movie director husband; Heidi, Arlo's widowed neighbor; Eileen's hairdresser, a cross-dresser named Theodosia; a donut-maker named Zing; Indian princess Contessa (Tess) Rosovo; and Phillippe, a self-styled Frenchman who claims he's a Cordon Bleu chef. Phillippe says everyone in "The Springs" is an actor.

To help find Eileen and Kinley, Tess takes Dru to the high desert for a Moon Maiden ceremony. Dru spots a young girl in a wig. Tess notices Dru's attention to the girl. Dru passes out then wakes in the desert scrub as a monsoon rages. Terrified, she's swept over a rock waterfall to certain death. Her miraculous survival brings her even greater pain.

The Last Temptation is an edgy mystery thriller loaded with eccentric oddballs. Murder and deceit are no strangers to glamorous Palm Springs. Nor to Atlanta.  - Five Star

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A Review

 The Last Temptation by Gerrie Ferris Finger
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432825898
Date: 18 July 2012

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info / ShareThis

Moriah Dru is an ex-cop who runs Child Finders, an agency that looks for missing children. She often works directly for an Atlanta juvenile court. In one such case, a father hires her to find his daughter who failed to return from a visit to her mother in Palm Springs. Dru takes a dislike to the man, but accepts the job. Lies and evasions by all the people she talks with about the case raise her hackles and increase her determination to find the missing mother and daughter.

In the course of her investigations, she is almost killed after being poisoned, drugged, and bitten by a rattler, but manages to survive a record thunderstorm and flood that washes her over a normally dry waterfall. A tourist family finds her and calls for help. In the hospital, she eventually recuperates and struggles to regain her memory. Even her lover, Lake, a detective in the Atlanta Police Department, finds her story fantastic, especially when she remains distant from him and appears to resent his efforts to help.

Before the poisoning, she remembers having seen a white girl among the participants in a Moon Maiden ceremony, but the friend who took her to the event, denies it took place. Dru continues to investigate everyone connected to the missing mother and child including the father who hired and then fires her.

While a number of novels have dealt with missing children, including: And She Was by Alison Gaylin, The Man from Primrose Lane by James Renner, and Picture of Lies by C.C. Harrison, this is one of the best.

A subplot concerning the father of the missing child adds to the cross currents and increases the number of potential suspects. Finger provides a convoluted narrative that few readers will anticipate. However, astute ones will have caught on to one villain’s identity before the exciting climax where both Lake and Dru are at the mercy of a cold blooded killer determined to kill anyone who can expose him.

This novel has likeable and despicable characters, but it isn’t always easy to sort one from the other. Finger is the author of a number of romances and the award winning mystery, The End Game (not to be confused with the science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card). A former journalist, she likes writing mysteries because the bad guys get caught.  - A Gumshoe Review