Dr. Alan Gregory is a practicing psychologist with a few little problems to work through. He has an office filled with bloody corpses. He has a teenage patient who may be a sad victim or a savage killer. He has a beautiful estranged wife who wants him back in the worst way, and a lovely lover doing her best to keep him. He has a cop who wants him off the case, and an unknown enemy who wants him permanently out of action. To round out his many dilemmas, the list of suspects reads like a Who's Who of his posh Colorado community. And as a Rocky Mountain winter wonderland is swept by a nightmare blizzard of evil, secret sins leave a trail of blood leading to their hiding place deep in the heart and mind of a monstrous murderer...
©2013 Stephen White (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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.
That's an awkward question.
It seems to me that his question presupposes that I didn't like the book. On the contrary, I thought the story was pretty good, and the narration was very nice. I reserve 4 and 5 stars for books I find really good or outstanding. Three stars to me means that it was a decent book, but just didn't do enough for me to reach the next level. I thought the story was interesting and I enjoyed the dry humor along the way. Seems like a tiny bit too much diverting away from the main story at times, but I guess this is the author's way of character building.
This was my first time to listen to Dick Hill. The only problem I had was that, although I don't know how old he is, it sounded like an older man narrating the voice of a younger man. That took a little getting used to. However, once I accommodated for that, I thought Mr. Hill was a very good narrator. Nice job with the voices, not annoying, in line with the essence of the book. Very nice. I especially enjoyed his Detective Purdy (sp) voice. I definitely would like to listen to other books with his narration.
I liked it enough to get the next book in the series. Also, since I listen to audiobooks faster than my wife, she counts on me to give her recommendations. While this might not be at the top of my list, I will eventually get around to recommending this to her.
Sometimes it feels as if the author is trying a little to hard to stuff this novel with drama. Too many breakins, several attempts at murder, a few successful, but our main characters, after spending some time in emergency, or the hospital itself, seem to come out a little too seemlessly.
Then there are the almost car crashes, and one overturned car in snow, with it's too easy rescue. And what's with all the touchy, feely relationships with so many different women, not to mention the strange relationship between psychologist and police detective, which, for me, is one of the more pleasing aspects to the novel.
I found Dick Hill's voice and style to be distracting, rather than pleasing. The main character seems to be in his late 30's, maybe early 40's, since he is still hankering after fatherhood. Dick Hills voice, with it's odd pauses, sounded too old for our main character.
I have heard many narrations by Dick Hill and usually enjoy his style, but for this one, he just didn't work.
I wouldn't kick the book to the curb. It was interesting enough, but not one you will remember for long.
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