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Publisher's Summary

When an emergency call brings Dr. Alan Gregory to an ICU, he finds 15-year-old Merritt Strait recovering from a suicide attempt. Her stepsister, Chaney, already lies near death - after her managed care provider turned down an experimental treatment that could save her life.

When a wealthy executive with the family's HMO is shot to death, Alan discovers shocking evidence linking Merritt to his killing. As time runs out, he searches for answers - and discovers the truth about a family that will stop at nothing to save one of its own.

Investigate more mysterious doings with Dr. Alan Gregory.
©1999 Stephen White; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Dick Hill 'Almost' Saves the Day

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 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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Snoodely
  • Santa Barbara, CA United States
  • 11-09-09

This book kept me up all night!

I had prepared myself not to like "Critical Conditions," because, in general, I don't think too much of "psychological thrillers." I think the authors cop out by inventing bizarre, unheard-of psychoses to explain their bad guys' criminal behavior. But Stephen White does not succumb to that laziness here. Even though the main character works as a clinical psychologist, the plot never relies on insanity for motivation. Rather, the characters are driven by believable circumstances to desperate behavior; and the protagonist must untangle the intertwined forces which have lead to trouble. Just when we think he has resolved the situation, the penultimate chapter throws him into a hair-raising scene at the Denver airport which provides enough excitement for the most avid thrill-seeker. Dick Hill reads this story masterfully, providing unique voices for all the characters, modulating the voices as the dialogue requires. If you like thrillers with both pathos and humor, you will probably enjoy this audiobook.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

so slow

The story line and the performance were outstanding, but the writing was so slow. I guess I'm not a patient person but everything took so long to be told. It was very tempting to fast-forward and I did that a couple times. But then there's the chance of missing something significant.

This was my first book of this series. I'm not sure I'll get another one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joel
  • Dallas
  • 09-16-10

Not for everybody

I have enjoyed all the previous books of Stephen White, but Critical Conditions describes some adolescent pornography to the visual extreme. The plot was more skewed to the psychological implications that some of his others books. It was read by Dick Hill, who does an excellent job this voice character delineation, but the recording at time made it difficult to understand. Over all it kept my interest but was made me uncomfortable during the description of sexual encounter.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • CBDC
  • Washington, DC USA
  • 01-10-10

Really good

It's the first book I've read with Dr. Gregory - a really likable character (almost Bosch-like). I've added a few others of Stephen White to my wish list (avoiding the abridged versions of which there are too many). The story was gripping and the main characters very human (in a good way). I recommend the book with the caveat that you may have trouble turning it off when it's time for bed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good Story but Reader was tough

What did you love best about Critical Conditions?

I have enjoyed all the Alan Gregory Mysteries, but in this one the reader, Dick Hill, read the female teen's voice so low and I really had trouble hearing those parts and they were key to the story. I tried turning the volume up and down but it was always a bit difficult to hear when he was doing her voice.....

Did Dick Hill do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

He made it hard to hear the teen girl's voice.....

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Big fan!

What made the experience of listening to Critical Conditions the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed this audiobook for the most part because of the developing story of Lauren's MS and how she is coping with it. Setting the story in Utah, and involving details of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints was fascinating as an, admittedly fictional, but fascinating story of the control institutions attempt to exert over their members. The sexual preference angle was brilliant also as an additional antagonistic feature.<br/><br/>Dick Hill's narration was, as almost always, an additional pleasure.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Critical Conditions?

Perhaps the images (gruesome) of Rachel's death by hot tub, accompanied by the revelation of the blood spilling theme and it's connection to "sinner's" redemption.

Have you listened to any of Dick Hill’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

About the same. I loved his Harry Bosch narrations. Don't care for the little weak voice he uses sometimes for women in distress. It's a little creepy.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The church fathers are watching!

Any additional comments?

Love everyone of Stephen White's books in the Alan Gregory series but I wish Audible had all of them!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Wow!

Would you consider the audio edition of Critical Conditions to be better than the print version?

Don't know.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

I never knew who did what to whom because what seemed like the right answer never was. It kept me listening even when I should have been doing other things. I liked the narrator as well. This is the kind of book I hope to get when I use my credits.

Have you listened to any of Dick Hill’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, he was very good in this book but I always enjoy him as a narrator. I think I'm as attached to certain narrators as I am to certain authors. Dick Hill is one I really enjoy.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Kept me listening, suspense all the way to the end!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Gary
  • Santa Fe, NM, United States
  • 09-24-12

Great listen

This was my first Stephen White book and I'm thrilled to have found such a great listen. The story was great as well as the reading. I look forward to more of his books.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Montana
  • Billings, MT, United States
  • 09-10-12

A Good Mystery, Easy Listen

The Alan Gregory series has long been a favorite of mine; I've read them all and now I'm re-reading them in audio. The story line is consistently clean and fast-paced. I find the dialogue a little wooden and incredible (as in not-credible) at times, especially when the characters re-live their experiences. But if you want a clean, easy listen with all the knots tied up at the end, this one will do it.