Rocklin, CA, United States | Member Since 2004
A trip to the past, which demonstrates once again how really, really, good the early Stephen White books were, as compared to the last ones, which are eminently forgettable, to put it kindly. .
This one was published in 1992, the second of White's 20 ( I think) books, all but one or two of which feature Dr. Alan Gregory, Boulder, CO, psychologist supreme. Aside from some funniness about cell phone technology, the book doesn't seem dated at all. It's as fresh and captivating as when I read it the first time many years ago.
All of the well known characters are here -- Sam Purdy, the curmudgeonly police officer with the Iron-Range accent; the lovely but suffering with multiple sclerosis attorney Lauren Crowder, with whom Alan has, at this point, only a 'dating' relationship; Marion, Alan's bitchy and conniving first wife (aren't all first wives bitchy, devious and conniving?); Diane, Gregory's business partner, who's married to a wealthy Cuban ex pat; and next door neighbor Adrienne, a diminutive female urologist who never fails to get the best laugh lines in the book -- delivered in a pretty bad Jewish/Brooklyn accent by narrator Dick Hill, which doesn't seem to grate when Hill does it. It just comes off as endearing.
And then there are the crazy patients, although the ever-proper Dr. Alan would surely never refer to them that way. Nutty though they are, Gregory never looks down on them -- he might get bored, but he'll never be critical. In fact, if you were to go to Dr. Gregory for therapy, you would know two things for sure: 1. No matter what, no matter what kind of death threat, blackmail or other threatened calamity would occur, Dr. Gregory would never, ever, betray even the existence of a client, let alone what ails him or her. "Patient confidentiality" is a constant thread running through all these books, too much so at times, but fine in this early installment. And 2. You'd know that no matter what kind of crazy situation you got yourself into -- tied up and left to die by a madman, locked into a burning house, tortured then abandoned to the elements somewhere -- Dr. Gregory, in person, would show up to rescue you. It's the one way you know these books are fiction.
This was a good book -- hated to see it end, but then one can always listen again. And again.
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