Excellent book -- but a half star subtracted for the inclusion of the completely unnecessary element of having a much-loved dog killed. It added noth..Show More »ing to the story, didn't serve to heighten tension or move the plot ahead, in fact it served no purpose at all that I can see. Granted, the event doesn't occupy center stage for very long, so it's not serious demerit, but nevertheless, for all of these reasons, it should have been left out.
Other than that, a really excellent listen. This was the first book in the long-running series, and on the whole, one of the best. It's easy to see how this book, new on the stands, became a best seller, propelling Stephen White on to publishing one of the best amateur detective series out there. Even though it was published back in 1991, it's completely fresh. The single element that dates it was when one of the characters demands that some photographs be turned over. "And make sure I get the negatives, too," he adds. Right.
It's interesting, listening to this first book, meeting the characters for the first time, pretending we don't know what will happen in later installments. The delightful cop Sam Purdy doesn't play a large role here, nothing like he does in the later books, but Madeline -- Dr. Gregory's first wife -- does, and it's interesting to see how their marriage failed. And of course Lauren, the new love interest, enters the picture, just as big a termagant in the beginning as she is in every book. Once again, I found myself wondering why Dr. Alan puts up with that shrewish woman, who demands everything from everyone in her life, and offers almost nothing in return. The relationship does give rise to a philosophical question though: Lauren is afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis, in this book, in its early stages. It's a horrible affliction, no question about that. Anyone who suffers from it deserves our sympathy. But the question is, how much sympathy? Does having a devastating, obviously frustrating, non-curable -- although not life threatening -- affliction give Lauren - or anyone else, for that matter -- the right to run roughshod over everyone with whom she comes in contact? At times, during this first book, I found myself hoping that Dr. Gregory would just walk away -- he'd have saved himself a lot of abuse if he had. But of course he doesn't. Apparently he, the great healer, sees something in Lauren that doesn't come across all that well to the reader. Maybe he just loves to play caretaker in all aspects of his life.
Whatever, this was a great listen -- great characters, innovative but reasonably plausible plot, psychological insights courtesy of several of Dr. Gregory's nutty patients we readers have come to enjoy. It's a credit very well spent. I know I'll enjoy it again sometime in the future.
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..Show More » 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.
Alan's wife Lauren has a younger sister Teresa who's working with the Utah women's symposium. She comes to her lawyer sister with a small issue; it se..Show More »ems that the female LDS top assistant to the first LDS Member of the Supreme Court groped her in a woman's bathroom. With Lauren's aid Teresa finds a lawyer and then pretty much disappears for the rest of the book as she chases her new career as a stand-up comic. It seems that she's perfectly willing to continue the case as long as others do all the heavy lifting required. Those doing that lifting are her lawyer who loses her marriage by taking the case. Her sister Lauren who comes very close to losing her life for pushing the case. Alan and Sam who mainly lose time but are placed in danger several times as they pursue the case. Not to mention the four individuals who lose their lives to a overly religious madman kills to hide facts and events that would be embarrassing to the Mormon church if they came to life. Speaking of which; if you're at all sympathetic to the religion you might want to avoid this book. Yes it relates a great deal of information about the church, the state of Utah, and the Mormon culture from the sixties up to the nineties. Not a whole lot of it positive though. The book touches on two of the subjects the church is the most intractably conservative about; homosexuality and abortion. This isn't the best or worst book of the Alan Gregory series. One of the major problems with the series is with the exception of Sam Purdy none of the protagonists in this series in general and this work in particular are at all sympathetic. Teresa Crowder gets stubborn about continuing the case; then disappears leaving all the work to others and putting in motion a situation in which four people end up dead after she sees the lawyer. I see Lauren Crowder as the Rocky Mountain version of Susan Silverman. Alan is a whiny pain in the ass who follows Lauren around like a puppy for no reason that the author has ever made clear. Were it not for the combination of psychology and criminal justice, well conceived criminal plots and some finely drawn minor characters the series would be in the must avoid category. As it is if you don't need to feel a strong alliance with the principle characters in a story; then I can recommend both the book and the series.
I really got off on Adrienne Allen, wife of the murder victim… She's a great character and both White and Hill have fun with her. She's a scene steale..Show More »r. Otherwise, I listened through the book and generally enjoyed what's become a too easy villain for many writers in the genre. Still, it was a way to make gain through my pain at the gym every morning I listened. Harm's Way distracted me from the discomfort and I think I'll listen to another of Stephen White's books, especially if Dick Hill's the reader. They're a competent team.
Were it not for Dick Hill's excellent job of trying to inject some life into this dog, I would have considered asking for my money back. Ever wonder ..Show More »what a psychologist is? How is it their counsel is always so spot on? Are their lives perfect? Do they know the 'meaning of life'? Are they capable od absorbing and contending with every travail life throws at us?
Alan's psycho-babble just wears me out. If I want it, I'll just watch day time television talk shows. Match that with a somewhat transparent story stocked with mundane characters and...Voila! a Stephen White novel.
Good enough back story to make up for a loose disjointed main theme and some characters whose major roles seem to either be stereotypically eccentric ..Show More »or an irritant. The main theme is a patient from Alan Gregory's intern days seems to be killing the staff from the teaching hospital where they'd worked. That includes his first love Dr. Sawyer Sackett another of the interns from the class of 82; the portions of the book relating to them and to that period of time are excellent. As are the pages dedicated to D.B. Cooper and the now mythic story of the 1973 hijacking and his subsequent escape. Added to that is the mystery of his disappearance; then the uncovering of a portion of the money from a riverbank twenty (?) years later; the only bills ever recovered from the ransom. Unfortunately the main story has a couple of eccentric ex-FBI agents and the ever irritating Lauren Crowder; Alan's wife and Susan Silverman's principle competition as the most unlikable fictional character in existence. Together with the vague, wandering narrative and the lack of a reasonable motive for the killer's obsession drops the book to four stars. It's still worth the credit particularly if you're a reader of listener of the series.
White introduced several characters in the first part of the book and little was heard from them later on. I think he could have probably explained wh..Show More »at was going on with Naomi a little better than he did. It was hard to warm up to primary protagonist Allan Gregory who went from wimpy to not-so-wimpy and then back again. Purdy was perhaps the best developed character. Not a bad story but not one that will have me rushing back to hear some more from White. His epilogue sounded as if it took him 10 years to write this book, which I thought was a bit odd. Maybe I heard wrong. Not narrator Dick Hill's best effort either. Too much variation is his volume. Very average.
Not even close to Stephen White's earlier books in quality -- characters are so muddled, everybody so confused, it's hard to tolerate. Bad cops, bad F..Show More »BI agents, then good cops, mysterious men living alone in the forest, with menace everywhere, and everyone -- most certainly including Dr. Gregory himself -- making so many stupid decisions that you start to wonder how he managed to survive this long.
Oh -- and that shtick where Dr. Alan Gregory carries on and on and on ... and on... about what he can, or should, disclose about his patients? When either they or someone else is in deep doo-doo? Geez, that's getting old. We get it, Dr. Gregory. No need to detail your anguished mental processes ad infinitum over the matter every single time. It's starting to reek of "filler".
This story line was a problem for narrator Dick Hill, too -- who, as one of the audiobook industry's old stalwarts, should know better. There's one character who -- trying not to disclose a spoiler of any kind, here -- is attacked by bees, and is stung all over, including inside his mouth, which renders his speech muffled, incomprehensible and in general, hard to understand. Unfortunately, this character also shouts a lot. The problem is, Hill seems to feel the need to read these parts with absolute accuracy -- or at least what we assume a character like that WOULD sound like, with a bee-stung mouth. It becomes painful to listen to -- on and on, this horrible mutilated voice, shouting things it's difficult to understand. All of this consumes at least 45 minutes of the book, then on and off again to the end. This isn't the first time Hill did this -- he used that same "horrible mouth injury" voice in one of the Lee Child books, too, "A Wanted Man", I think. I almost had to turn it off there, too. It's just very unpleasant to listen to.
Narrators should exercise some common sense, it seems to me. There should be some balance between letting us know that a character is injured, without making the voice so painful to listen to that it scorches the ears. Dick Hill, at least in these two books, is giving us way too much accuracy. It doesn't help the books he's reading, it makes it hard to tolerate.
Best advice, for Best Revenge? Skip it, stick with the earlier Stephen Whites. When he's good, he's very very good. But when he's mediocre, it's best to remember the good ones.
Though I've read or listened to the entire Alan Gregory series since I've never been very fond of the protagonist, or especially his wife. The fact th..Show More »at Sam played a larger role in this audio was a definite positive. Some of the details of Sam's life; his divorce from his wife Sherri and his relationship with his son Simon were poignant without being maudlin. The stirrings of his new relationship with Carmen rang true for me; reminiscent of relationships that have begun in the workplace. I also greatly enjoyed his travelogue focused on thanksgiving meals; as a longtime reader/listener it was so apropos of Sam that food was the centerpiece. This book begins when a former client of Alan's Gibbs Storey shows up to tell someone that her husband is a killer. Gibbs is the type of beautiful woman that makes other beautiful women feel faded and fat so naturally Alan is immediately pulled into the middle of it. He enlists Sam's aid, and since Sam is currently on suspension and needs the money he takes it on. As per usual Alan is a whiny wienie who's condescended to by pretty much everyone else in the book. His wife Lauren Crowder's role in this one is thankfully brief and Diane is usual snarky self; as is indicated when it's revealed that her nickname for Gibbs is "The Dancing Queen" ABBA's 1970's hit. All in all this is one of my favorite books in the Alan Gregory series.
I have never been dissapointed in any of this authors books and this is not an exception.
People keep dissapearing as psychologist Alan G..Show More »regory trys to figure out what happened to one of his associates. There are lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing till the very end.
The author does a very good job with describing the area around Boulder, the weather conditions and the essence of the community. I was very impressed with the way he blended information from a well known missing person case into the story without getting into the politics of the case.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it difficult the put down my ipod as I wanted to find out what was going to happen next. The story line was v..Show More »ery unique and although I read many thrillers it really was something new.
I really enjoy Stephen White books and am so happy Audio has decided to add his books. While each book is a great read on its own, his books are a ser..Show More »ies so I recommend that you try to read them in order to follow along with the side stories about the main characters.
Do not start this one at bedtime unless you plan on staying up for a good listen. There are lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing what will happen next.
I've been a Stephen White fan for years-- his character Alan Gregory is a clinical psychologist who is continually pulled into the middle of gruesome ..Show More »crimes-- not unlike Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware-- except I find White's books more suspenseful, intelligent, and coherent. So I was thrilled to finally see a White book available on Audible! While 'Dead Time' is probably not White's best, I thought it was right up there-- lots of twists and turns, a couple of compelling subplots, and some great nailbiting moments. Unlike the other reviewer, I really like the way White takes his time to develop conversations and settings-- it facilitates the evolution of the characters and their relationships and ultimately just makes me care that much more about what happens to them.
I was a little worried I might not like the way the reader interpreted the characters I've grown so fond of, but he didn't let me down-- and he does an especially good "bad guy" voice!
For me, this was one I couldn't stop listening to until I finished. Please, Audible, let's have some more of White's books on here!
I love Stephen White's older books with Alan Gregory. This book focused on Sam Purdy and then two new characters who we have never met (Po and De..Show More »irdre) and will probably never see again.
Parts of this book were very good and the premise behind it had a lot of potential but in the end it fell flat. As I found with Stephen White's last book I thought there was way too much dialogue about things that did not move along the story and in the end the main characters really did not affect the outcome of the situation - they were just bystanders and as someone else mentioned just figured out the motives behind the situation before anyone else.
I really noticed a political message coming through from the author in the whole story with regards to 9/11 and the resulting events in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Not a total waste of time but not what I expected from someone who used to be my favorite author.
It is a new twist (kinda) on the usual Dr. Gregory story. Instead of a patient who is tangentially connected to Alan, It is Alan and his pal, the pol..Show More »ice officer. The story had its unsual great mix of characters from different walks of life ( a specialty of this author) and the various twists and turns ( another specialty) but the total burden of the stuff he keeps from his wife and how much Alan has to go through to get to the climax of the story was frigging endless. Never did I want an end to come more quickly in an audio book. I usually want my money's worth, but this time I felt the end was near but someone kept snatching it away. That being said - don't want this review to mess up the ending for others - I truly didn't see it coming and it was a surprise ending. So how to do I go back to my headline? Why would I miss "the crazy patients"? Be- cause this time, as it is Alan with the problem, the quess work is gone. True, other characters intervene and make for surprises but mostly I found the window to the story from Alan's point of view ruining the story. I want to go back to analyzing each word of the patients to figure out how they will impact on the story. Dick Hill is an amazing reader and I will continue to read this author, but just like most people my age, I crave the good old days...
I have followed this series since book one. I adore these books. Sadly the ending just didn't do it for me. I thought it was one of the weakest books ..Show More »of the series. The plot never fully came to a conclusion. After 20 books I think I deserve a damn conclusion! I didn't think the twists and turns in this book were realistic (not that any of them are- but I'm talking book world here). I also hated that after all this the series ends with him talking about which girl he's having sex with. And he doesn't even tell us! I wanted the kids to be in the final prologue. It ended with what was perhaps meant to be a cliffhanger but kind of just annoyed me. Why bother throwing in one last problem if this is the end of the whole series? Especially such a mundane little problem all things considered. The final book felt anti climactic and had so little to do with the main people of the series. The second to last book was far more exciting in my opinion I hoped this book would bring that whole saga to a crazy final end but instead it brought it to a random less eventful end. Really? It's hard to say more without spoilers!
Also, I have to get this out... I HATE LAUREN! Has anyone else hated Lauren since the very beginning? I never liked her. Not as annoying mousy girlfriend, not as bitchy wife, not at all not ever. Phew it feels good to finally get that out!