• Line of Fire

  • Dr. Alan Gregory, Book 19
  • By: Stephen White
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 12 hrs and 43 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (238 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Dr. Gregory is starting to feel settled, hopeful that a long period of upheaval in his private life is behind him. He refocuses his energy on his clinical psychology practice, where a beguiling new patient captivates him, but the interlude of calm doesn’t last. Devastating fires are threatening Boulder. Alan’s dear friend Diane is showing signs of a long-simmering emotional collapse. And Alan’s most pressing fear - the exposure of a dangerous secret - has become a peril too real to ignore.

A new witness has surfaced, causing the police to reopen their investigation into the suicide of a woman named Justine Winter Brown. When Alan and his equally culpable friend, Sam Purdy, inadvertently disclose their involvement in her death to a stranger, any confidence they feel about riding out a renewed investigation evaporates. The trail that leads to Alan and Sam, once cold, has turned white-hot.

With his vulnerability mounting daily, Alan suspects that his mesmerizing new patient may be the catalyst that could cause everything he treasures - his marriage, his family, his friendships, and his future - to implode. As flames lick at the city, the story hurtles toward a shocking conclusion that leaves the stage set for a jaw-dropping last act - the upcoming final book in the two-decades-long Alan Gregory saga.

©2012 Stephen White (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Line of Fire

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I Miss the Crazy Patients

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 police 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...

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Going out with a whimper....

Never have I come so close to quitting any book -- and yet not doing it. Had this been any other author, I surely would have ditched it about a third of the way in. But Stephen White has written the best of the best crime fiction books around. I figured he deserved my attention through the whole of this last one in the series.

What's the problem? Sheer implausibility, utter nonsense, in fact, when it comes to what the characters we've come to know and love -- Dr. Alan, Sam Purdy, Lauren and most certainly Diane and Raul -- will do. Never, ever, would any of these people do the things we are supposed to believe they did, in this book. Feh.

Then too, there's a seriously disjointed plot. We actually know nothing at all about the crime that forms the motivation for everything else in this book -- I actually backtracked a whole hour at the beginning, thinking I must have missed something. I didn't. It's not there. Even now, I have no idea about what actually happened during that initial, underlying, event. I guess we're just supposed to accept the tidbits that are tossed our way, all the way through. Bad plotting. Really bad plotting.

But here's what I've realized. Stephen White has written that his books are actually parables or metaphors. When I first read that, I didn't understand what he meant -- where's the parable? But now I understand. So much of the plot of this book, and the predecessor, "Kill Me" deal with mercy killing, putting someone out of their misery when the time comes.

And now I get the metaphor: Knowing that this is the last book in the series, White has put all his characters out of their misery. Which makes it easier for us to accept, I guess. By writing a really ridiculous book at the end, we won't go on longing for more. .

If you loved the Alan Gregory books, do yourself and favor and skip this one. Remember them as they were: the best of the best.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story - narrator is not right fit for Alan

What made the experience of listening to Line of Fire the most enjoyable?

I have been a fan of Stephen White's series for years. Very disappointed at how poorly the narrator's voice works for the Dr. Gregory character. He sounds just right for the older, jaundiced cop sidekick, but not for the fit, youthful, vigorous Alan.

How could the performance have been better?

Younger sounding narrator.

Any additional comments?

I will continue to follow Stephen White. He is a super story teller and always has done enough research in whatever related topic (in this case, suicide) the story brings in so that you really learn something besides being entertained.
Really really wish they would find a narrator that fits the Alan Gregory character. This guy doesn't deliver as a young, vigorous, intelligent Doc.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow! Had me guessing until the end.

This was a fantastic Alan Gregory story. The best I've read. It starts with something new (or at least something I don't recall from previous books) about the past involving Sam and Alan. A crime from a few years ago. Just when things seem to be going so well for Alan and Lauren and their two kids. The different threads of the crime, Diane & Raul, Alan's new clients, and Lauren's involvement really came together in a way I simply couldn't predict. Fantastic. I'm interested to see what happens in the future. Has Sam crossed a dangerous line for a police detective? What does the future hold for the Gregory family? What about the two guys in prison? Are they a future threat for Alan and Sam? I can't wait for the next one.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

DON'T DO IT!

Any additional comments?

This book was so bad I didn't finish it. Everything that can go wrong goes wrong and I didn't care enough to find out how it ends. And I've read reviews for the final book so know I won't be buying that. If you didn't read them, go back to the first five in the Series. They were wonderful, not so whiny and blame God for everything and refuse to help get a serial killer put in prison because of his "ethics". What gibberish! I'm going to go read some Jack Reacher to get the bad taste out of my mouth.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Unable to finish this one

I am not sure if it is just me...but I can't stomach any book that goes on about incest or sex trash. Too much time spent on the fast forward button, I really couldn't say what the book is about. Starts with a cop who killed someone and lapses into the 'junk' I don't want to hear. Can't get the earbuds out fast enough. Maybe another day when I have nothing else to do, I will try again and maybe update my opinion. Until then, just not good listening for me.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing outing.

Perhaps the problem is that I'm starting this series in the middle. I get the impression that momentous events happened in the previous volume so perhaps the slow start of this story is a welcome breather for fans of the series.

Be that as it may, the deal breaker for me was the incredibly stupid behavior of the main character. Dr. Alan Gregory and his cop pal are implicated (possibly) in the suicide/homicide of a woman who threatened to kill the children of Dr. Gregory & the cop but nobody knows this except Dr. Gregory & the cop pal. There is a rumor that the case may be opened on the basis of new evidence, a possible witness the night of the woman's death may have seen a visitor prior to her death.

On nothing more than the possibility of a reopened case, Dr. Gregory decides it would be a good idea to go to the town where the death occurred (on a bicycle no less) and start lying about who he is and generally messing about. Why??? This guy is supposed to be smart! Why not just paint himself red and hang a sign around his neck saying 'suspicious character.' I got so annoyed by this idiocy that I quit listening. So the story may improve later, I don't know (may try it in print where you can skip over especially annoying parts).

Dick Hill is a wonderful reader and kept me listening even though I found the early part slow going (as mentioned above.)

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

One of the best in the series

If you could sum up Line of Fire in three words, what would they be?

True to the characters I have come to know

What other book might you compare Line of Fire to and why?

Some of the other Alan Gregory books

Which character – as performed by Dick Hill – was your favorite?

Sam

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Realizing what Sam & Alan did to protect their children

Any additional comments?

Wish this series was not coming to an end

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • MM
  • 11-16-12

Whew! Twists & turns with the familiar characters

As long as Dick Hill narrates Stephen White's books, I'll only listen (instead of read). This one was another excellent book and there were twists and turns throughout. I am counting on there being another book, and I'll buy it the minute it comes out.

Worth listening to - but just don't start here. Go back to the beginning of the Alan Gregory series and lead up to this one. Imagine! You'll have 19 books to read while I have to wait for the next one....

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed the book very much

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book. Even though I have read all the Alan Gregory books this one had lots of twists and turns - not same old, same old that's for sure!

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

I have to say that although I have read all the Alan Gregory books, this is the first one I've listened to and I didn't feel that the voice of the narrator matched the Dr. Gregory I had in my mind. The narrator's voice sounded much older than Dr. Gregory is in the story. It threw me for a bit until I got used to it.