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Line of Fire [Hardcover]

Stephen White
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 7 2012
New York Times bestselling author Stephen White returns with a gripping thriller about the one devastating secret that could cost Alan Gregory everything—the first of the dramatic two-part conclusion to his acclaimed bestselling series.

Clinical psychologist and Boulder resident Alan Gregory is finally beginning 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 is challenging his values. The interlude of calm doesn’t last, of course: Alan’s dear friend Diane is showing signs of a long-simmering emotional collapse, and Alan’s greatest fear—the exposure of his most dangerous secret—has become something he can’t ignore.

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

With his vulnerability mounting daily, Alan begins to fear that his mesmerizing new patient may be the catalyst that can cause everything he treasures—his marriage, family, friendship, and future—to implode. As the authorities close in, the story hurtles toward a conclusion that will set the stage for the most unexpected of outcomes: the final act of the Alan Gregory saga.

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Product Description


"This is truly a perfect lead-in to what is sure to be a ‘final act’ of epic proportions for Stephen White’s popular cast of characters."
—Amy Lignor, author of Tallent & Lowery - 13, Suspense Magazine

"Longtime fans and newcomers alike will enjoy spending time in the company of the always hospitable Gregory."
Publishers Weekly

"White is a fine storyteller, and Gregory is a complex, compelling character whom fans have grown to love and respect."
— Booklist

"Line of Fire grips readers from the first few pages and doesn't let go until the last page is turned."
Southern Colorado Literature Examiner

About the Author

Stephen White is a clinical psychologist and New York Times bestselling author of thirteen previous novels, including The Best Revenge and Missing Persons.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars not as good as other books July 26 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have all of Stephen White`s books and this one was just not as good as some of the others. I think he is tiring of the characters as he is ending this series.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Up in flames Aug. 19 2012
Stephen White's latest novel, Line of Fire, is a major disappointment. There was a large time gap between the publication of this book and its predecessor, and too many of the plot points in the new book depended on being able to recall the earlier one. Frankly, I couldn't remember, and this really diminished my enjoyment of the book. I felt constantly confused, trying to recall very fuzzy memories in order to make sense of the new book's plot. Line of Fire is openly acknowledged as the second last of the Alan Gregory series, and for this reader, it is as if Stephen White had already lost interest before he started it. Didn't get any real sense of the characters we have come to know so well in the earlier books. I had really been looking forward to this book, but don't think I'll have that sense of anticipation about the final book of the series, if and when it appears.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  150 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Comme ci, comme ca Aug. 9 2012
By NAR - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am a long-time fan of the Alan Gregory series and have been looking forward to this book for a while.

I have mixed feelings. I'm still thinking about the last part of the book when multiple storylines collide. As always, I love the dialogue. I was disappointed because people started acting out of character (SPOILER ALERT) as in - would Sam say anything to Alan about Frederick in a hospital room? Would Lauren talk about an ongoing case? Also, there were a few coincidences that stretched my ability to accept the story (SPOILER ALERT) as in - what are the odds that someone who appeared to be in a coma really wasn't?

Having said that, I am still thinking about the book - which means that I was touched by it.
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh . . . and I can't believe I'm writing that Aug. 8 2012
By Julia Walker - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having been a devoted Alan Gregory fan for years -- even thorough the depressing books -- I can't believe that I'm writing a negative review.

Well, I guess what I really can't believe is that Stephen White wrote such a boring, fragmented, inconsistent narrative.

To begin with, I find the ICU conversation that kicks off the plot to be ludicrously out of character for both Alan Gregory and Sam Purdy. I find the follow up circumstances to be even less convincing. Yes, of course people do behave atypically, but even factoring that in, I cannot, as a careful reader of this entire series, find any element of the scene and its follow-on remotely credible.

Since the main plot, to the extent that it is a plot, depends on that scene, this leaves me out on a limb and wondering what the 5-star reviewers were talking about.

One hallmark of Alan Gregory has always been integrity. He follows the rules not because he's afraid to get caught, but because he respects the reasoning behind the rules. Here he goes off the tracks. And no, that's not a metaphor.

The first-person narrative that gives readers such a feeling of being on the inside of Gregory's friendships, his family, his therapy sessions here comes across as smug >>> arrogant. Even when he's tossing out one of the 8-zillion little foreshadowing lines -- eg. " I had no idea that at that point as far as my fears went, that particular one was completely overdetermined" -- there's a smarmy/pretentious tone that's alien to the Dr Gregory I've grown to admire. (And really, can fear be overdetermined? Must he not mean that the realization of the fear is overdetermined? OK, quibble, but White is generally a very good writer.

Similarly, when Gregory informs us that he now argues with Sam more than he did in the early years of their friendship and with Diane, his professional partner, less because she's become so fragile, he manages to make both declarations sound patronizing. And insensitive, as when he describes the traffic in front of Whole Foods as "sclerotic."

Would a man whose wife suffers from MS use that word casually? use it for traffic?

And then there are the digressions -- the rants to use the term Gregory uses for Sam's digressions. This is a feature of the series that I've always enjoyed, but here they are piled on both high and deep, far too many, far too much each time, so much that I wondered if White were faced with a minimum word count. I actually skipped pages -- and I _never_ skip. But it was boring. Dr Gregory is never boring! Well, never until now.

OK, I'm talking about Alan Gregory as if he were a real person. And that's a tribute to White's writing ability, to the earlier books in this series. And the reason that I can't give this book fewer than 3 stars, for all that it may deserve 2.

If this is the penultimate volume in the series, I'm hoping that White simply decided to build in a sure-fire bounce for the conclusion.

Do I believe that? Meh . . . .
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars crass commercialism Aug. 18 2012
By MVG - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed this series even when some of the plots have seemed a little far-fetched. I have loved the character development. This book misses the mark. The setting in wildfire season is promising, but the story goes south quickly. You have two characters who throughout the series have had each other's back doing something so stupid that it seems totally out of character. From there we revisit one of the lamest plots in the serie. In the fragmented story line we meet lots of characters who could have been interesting but weren't all that well developed. Then there is the "end." Except there isn't one. The story just stops without resolution and when we read the fine print we find that the last two books are serial novels. I realize that writing and publishing are a business but am disappointed that an author whom I have enjoyed and respected would stoop to such a cheap trick.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finishing strong... Aug. 21 2012
By WJ - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm always intrigued by how different people can read the same book, yet have diametrically opposed reactions to it. I have read every book of the Alan Gregory series and I'm a huge fan but could not stand the last book prior to this one. Yet so many people praised it as one of the best in the series. Conversely, after reading the less than flattering reviews of this book by some, I can't help but wonder what novel they were reading! For me, the attraction of the Alan Gregory series was the complex relationships between the principals, the psychological sparring with his patients, and how it was all interwoven into a satisfying storyline. Line of Fire was Stephen White at his best, back at the top of his game. I both look forward to and dread the next, but unfortunately final, installment of the series. For those reviewers who were upset with the "unresolved" ending to this book: please people, get a grip! Authors of successful recurring character series do this quite often. (Not every book has to be a stand alone story) Fans of the series will not be disappointed!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed Aug. 13 2012
By ChessOak - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
And suddenly, there it ends.... I could not believe my eyes. First I thought that perhaps there was an error downloading my Kindle edition, so abruptly did the novel end. Then I read the postscript and found something along the lines that this is a "serial." What?

I expect each book to stand on its own, for a number of the loose threads to be tied up and at least some semblance of closure. If I want to read a serial, I don't want to wait a year or more for the next installment.

Really, for the first time I found that the book just drops off a cliff, as if the author wrote enough words, had a deadline and that was it.

In addition, and this is a quibble, there were at least three instances where words had line breaks in mid-sentence.
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