Line of Fire Hardcover – Aug 7 2012
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"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."
"White is a fine storyteller, and Gregory is a complex, compelling character whom fans have grown to love and respect."
"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.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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 . . . .