Monday, March 29, 2010


I write a series of romantic suspense novels featuring Laura Kate O'Connell. I use only two of my three names in these stories: Gerrie Ferris. Here is a review from Long and Short Reviews for the second in the Laura Kate Plantation Series, HONORED DAUGHTERS. If you like romantic suspense, order HD from Amazon in the Kindle format or from Desert Breeze Publishing in several ebook formats.

And now the review:

Laura Kate O’Connell is a super-star of a clever southern bell with quick wit and a nice way with horses. Honored Daughters is truly more mystery than romance, but the romance matters and readers will really enjoy Jack Rhodes when they finally meet him. It won’t be a painful wait though, as from the first moments, interest and intrigue build.Overall, the quality of the story is excellent. Epic-like adventures – and love – befall our heroine, who seems pulled in several directions most of the time.

Her personal life, her decisions and future plans are complicated; Jack Rhodes is her distant, if still true love. He seems to envision an ordinary, predictable sort of future for the two of them, a future Laura Kate isn’t enthused about at all. (Although after meeting him, we do realze he’s more insightful than Laura Kate gives him credit for.)

Before we even get to questions of romance; Agent Nyan Hill complicates her life, with his desperate effort to see the murder of his niece Dari solved. Nyan & Laura Kate’s antagonistic relationship, and occasional sharp dialogue, really make reader’s admire our heroine. She’s nobody’s fool, but is at heart a caring, almost driven person.

Ferris has a distinctive voice, giving Honored Daughters a continuous, rather evocative aura. She creates a time, a place, and a series of characters that seem utterly original, yet also familiar and appealing. There are some seriously suspenseful moments, as well as more tender times; and the mystery is a real mystery, both intriguing and heart-wrenching from the start.

Read about it.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Whenever I meet a book lover, his or her first question is: what's your book about? The second question is: where did you come up with the idea?

The End Game is a mystery about two young Atlanta girls who are kidnapped for the overseas sex trade. Heroine Moriah Dru established Child Trace, Inc. after leaving the Atlanta Police Department. She'll find lost children for anyone, but most of her work originates with the juvenile court system. With the help of Detective Lieutenant Richard Lake, Dru sets out to find the Rose girls after their house burns down. and their foster parents are dead inside.

Robin Agnew, of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association, reviewed my novel. I'll let her tell a little about the book.

"Ferris’ ethos isn’t cozy, it’s fairly hard boiled, and so is the topic she’s chosen to write about: missing children. Her spare prose and unsentimental writing style get you through some of the hard stuff in the story. … Like a runaway freight train, this novel is all about narrative drive."

Robin says other good stuff about my novel – although there are certain aspects I didn't realize I'd accomplished. As I intended, Robin nails the style and purpose of the narrative. I believe the spare prose and unsentimental writing style come from my journalism background. I worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for nearly twenty years.

In those first years, I edited the columns of nationally-syndicated newspaper columnist Lewis Grizzard. As his popularity grew, he compiled his writings – which exemplified his beloved South – into books that landed on the New York Times Best Seller List year after year. Lewis became my mentor, and I learned to edit as sparsely as he did. One caveat though, writing novels isn't like writing for a newspaper. You've got to put a little more flesh on the skeleton.

That brings me to the second question asked about my book: where did you come up with the story idea? Lewis died in 1994, and I joined the National Desk, where I traveled and wrote for a section of the newspaper called, Around the South. My last assignment was on the City Desk, and then I retired.

A sensational case in Atlanta became the genesis of my novel. A child went missing. He was four or five years old, and they couldn't find him in the foster care system. He'd been passed from family to family and then lost. How can you lose a child in the system? As far as I know, he was never found. About that time, the APD was busting massage parlors and finding ten-to-twelve-year-old foreign girls working in the back rooms, giving more than a traditional massage. The lost child and the young girls imported by real slavers inspired The End Game.

There is a third question I'm asked: what does the title mean? Overseas slave rings have names; one of the most infamous is called Snakehead. I named my fictional human traffickers after chess pieces. Dru and Lake will do anything to keep the Rose girls from becoming part of The End Game.

From: Sweet Mystery

Thursday, March 11, 2010


The End Game
Gerrie Ferris Finger
St. Martin's Minotaur
Release April 27 2010

Reviewed by Robin Agnew

Every so often the St. Martin ’s Malice Domestic winner hits one out of the park – case in point: In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming. The End Game is almost as good, and that’s saying a lot. Like Spencer-Fleming’s book, it’s hardly a cozy, though it gives a nod to the traditional mystery through the use of an actual locked room murder and some tricky stuff involving train whistles. Dorothy L. Sayers would be proud. But then she wasn’t really a cozy writer, either.

Ferris’ ethos isn’t cozy, it’s fairly hard boiled, and so is the topic she’s chosen to write about: missing children. Her spare prose and unsentimental writing style get you through some of the hard stuff in the story. Her main character, Moriah Dru, runs an agency called Child Trace, Inc. She’s retired from the police force and often works with her ex-partner, Rick Lake , as she does in this book. Lake is also Dru’s lover, but none of that complicates the story too much. Like a runaway freight train, this novel is all about narrative drive.

I think it’s pretty difficult to actually make all the details of a straight through investigation seem interesting. Of course it’s done on television all the time, but you feel on TV that things are left out or compressed. Nothing seems left out here, and still it’s pretty hard to stop turning the pages. The story opens with a terrible fire in a tiny Atlanta neighborhood called Cabbagetown. The bodies of the owners have been found inside; their young foster daughters have vanished, and that’s the focus of the story.

Skillfully setting up and investigating different suspects without seeming to do so is a tricky business, and Finger totally carries it off. The investigation seems like an explication of the neighborhood – the relationships and resentments of those who have lived in it for a long time – but really the author is taking you by the hand and letting you think over each resident as a possible suspect. She assumes intelligence on the part of the reader, something I always appreciate.

Nothing drives a narrative like missing kids, and I appreciated that they weren’t exploited by the author for their narrative possibilities. She’s not making you grab for the Kleenex. The girls are almost more like McGuffins that Dru and Lake are looking for; you hope they’ll be found – they’re children – but the hunt is as important as the finding. Some of the stuff Dru finds out in the course of her investigation about why children are taken is pretty stomach churning, but the author doesn’t dwell on it. Dru needs to move forward, and so does the story.

Finger hints at a backstory for Dru and Lake and while they are fully dimensional characters, their relationship will probably need focus in future books, as I’m sure this is the first of many. The depth she brings to the story telling is unusually accomplished; it stays with you when you’re finished, it’s not just a thriller read for the thrill. The Atlanta setting is used well also, something that bodes well for future installments. All I can say is, welcome to the mystery community, Ms. Finger. It feels like you’ve moved right in.

Robin Agnew