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Dead Time Paperback – Aug 4 2009
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"Moves at light speed."
-Midwest Book Review
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.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
White's character Alan Gregory practices psychology in Boulder, Colorado. His sidekick is Detective Sam Purdy. Sam is on suspension for offences committed during the last case Alan and he worked on. Gregory's wife Lauren suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. The mysteries that White writes about are fascinating, but so are the interpersonal relationships of the main charaters, particulary between Lauren and Alan.
This book is a bit of a departure from previous books in the series. Lauren and Sam do not figure as predominantly. Instead every other chapter is from the standpoint of Alan's ex wife Merideth, who has remarried. Her new husband Eric and five friends were involved in a tragedy that happened in the Grand Canyon years ago. One of the five is also the child of a fellow psychologist. Meredith asks for Sam and Alan's help to locate a surrogate mother that they have engaged. She has disappeared. There may be a connection between the two incidents. Alan's personal life is also undergoing great stress.
I found it interesting to explore Meredith's character a bit more. This novel seemed to overdo the personal introspection a bit. Some of the story surrounding the Grand Canyon event is a bit convoluted. I was a little hard pressed to find all of Alan's support of Meredith believable. Nonetheless, Dead Time is still a great read.
Listeners will remember with pleasure Hill's readings of recent Alan Gregory adventures - Kill Me and Dry Ice, and be delighted with his latest.
Colorado psychologist Alan Gregory is one of the more popular fictional heroes - he's very human, flaws and all. As this story opens he has some free time to ponder where life has taken him. His wife, Lauren, is on a trip with daughter Grace and his adopted son, Jonas, is away. But Gregory doesn't have long to adjust to the unaccustomed peace and quiet as he receives and SOS call from his former wife, Meredith.
Lisa, the surrogate mother for the child of Meredith and her fiancé, Eric, has vanished. Her disappearance is somehow tied to an earlier incident - the years ago disappearance of a woman from the Grand Canyon floor when Eric and friends were at the Canyon on a camping trip. Eric will not discuss this, and Meredith feels she must turn to Gregory who calls on his good friend, detective Sam Purdy, to help.
As Gregory tries to interview the six people who were on that camping trip he finds that none of them wants to talk about the woman's disappearance or the trip.
Listeners and readers know that nothing is easy for Alan Gregory, which makes a mighty fine yarn. Especially when read by Dick Hill.
- Gail Cooke
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In this book, the disappearance of a female hiker years ago in the Grand Canyon is the spine that drives this story, as that foundation leads Gregory into a search for the surrogate mother of his ex-wife's baby, one she's having with her fiance, who was ALSO in the Grand Canyon on that fateful day.
In many ways this is an attempt at modern noir, along the lines of "Out of the Past", but that's also one of its failings. In the noir genre, the central character is involved because of decisions he's made or actions he's taken in the past that are now catching up to him. But that's one of the failings of the book: Gregory is virtually a mere bystander or observer as the actions unfold. A character will tell him something, which he passes on to a different character; that character will act on the information, and in turn pass that on to Gregory, who then gets his buddy Sam to take some action; Sam then reports back to Gregory, who then tells another character..... well, you get the picture. Gregory is basically a traffic cop directing the flow of information and actions of OTHER characters as the story unfolds; he doesn't do much of anything himself. Further, there were so many characters being juggled around third-hand, that it was hard to keep them straight. You need a scorecard. There's one major character from the Grand Canyon segment who doesn't even ever really appear in the story except as a dead body -- which we never even "see"!
To be quite honest, the soap-opera timbre of Gregory's marriage and his relationship issues with his wife are also becoming very tedious, and yet again nothing is resolved in this book. How long is White going to drag this out? Gregory is, frankly, a wuss in addressing issues with his wife, very annoyingly passive-aggressive. As a shrink himself, I wonder if White is even aware of this unattractive aspect of Gregory's character? Is Gregory an alter-ego reflecting White's OWN passive-aggressive nature? Interesting to ponder, but the bottom line is it's very monotonous and irritating.
I also have to say that for a major house like Dutton, in publishing one of their upper-tier authors, this book sure had a lot of typographical and grammatical errors: misspelled or entirely missing words, missing or incorrect puntuation, and others. Surprising and distracting.
It did hold some interest, and the flashback scenes to the Grand Canyon were interesting and well done. The solution to the mystery was certainly surprising in that again, there was no real foundation laid for the denouement. That enhanced the surprise, at the expense of believability and the satisfaction quotient.
Like I said; a mixed bag. Three stars.
Dead Time starts with a catch line that gets your attention.
Then proceeds to explain that event.
It all starts at neighbor and friend Adrienne's memorial service reception - Alan's ex-wife Meredith appears. She was a dear friend of Adrienne's but she has an agenda - the surrogate for her child is missing - and she needs Alan's help to find her.
Alan's new 'son', Jonas, Adrienne's son, goes to New York for a visit with his uncle and family. Alan comes along for support and stays back in NYC. Meredith wants Alan to involve Alan's best bud, Sam Purdy, who has always had Alan's back - through thick and thin - to help investigate a decades old mystery that ties her fiance and baby's daddy with the surrogate (missing).
Lauren and Alan's marriage isn't on the most solid ground at this point, and Lauren and daughter go to find Lauren's daughter she gave up for adoption, leaving Alan 'single' and prey to ladies' attentions...
Well, if it seems a little soap-opera-y - it kind of is.
Circumstances and events a little too much coincidental to make all the places fit the puzzle.
Sam and Alan are still on solid ground - what will happen to Alan's marriage, we'll have to wait for other books.
A Stephen White book, however not his best, is better than most authors' works, and his readers will not be disappointed with this effort. If they understand that sometimes the actions are a stretch.