The End Game
Review: Gerrie Ferris Finger introduces Moriah Dru — just Dru to her friends — who runs an organization based in Atlanta that tracks down missing children in The End Game, the winner of the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition in 2009.
Dru is summoned to the scene of a devastating fire that has consumed a family's home and killing its owners, Wanda and Ed Barnes, who were foster parents to two young girls, Jessica and Dorthea Rose. But the girls' bodies aren't found in the ashes and rubble. Juvenile court judge Portia Devon hires Dru, and assigns her boyfriend, police lieutenant Richard Lake, to the task of finding the missing children. But Dru and Lake soon discover that the girls may be more than merely "missing", that they may have been kidnapped … and that the fire may have been arson, whether to cover up the abduction or to intentionally kill the foster parents unknown. Discounting the unlikely possibility that the two crimes are coincidental, Dru and Lake are left to wonder: Are they looking for two perpetrators working together, or just one very evil person? And how best do they navigate this complicated case to recover the children quickly and, most important, safely?
The author does an admirable job balancing the tragic ordeal of child abduction — and worse — with a fairly light, almost breezy narrative style. A too heavy-handed approach would weigh the story down, making it depressing, but a too light approach might appear to trivialize the crimes; she seems to get it just right. The lead characters are very appealing, work well together, and since they're already a couple at the start of the story, the typically tedious does-he doesn't-she give and take subplot between potential romantic partners present in other books is thankfully absent here. And then there's the police K-9 unit, introduced in the early chapters and given almost equal billing to their human counterparts, which plays a critical role later on. All this, together with a well-researched and developed plot, provide a strong foundation for this first book in a series.
Topical, relevant, and quite agreeable as a whodunit-style mystery, The End Game is highly recommended.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of The End Game for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The End Game: Atlanta, Georgia
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The End Game by Gerrie Ferris Finger — A Moriah Dru Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: April 2010
List Price: $24.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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