Friday, January 14, 2005

Author Stephen White

My literary tastes don't run very high, really. I mean, compared to the body of classics that exists out in the world.

For that, go read Sheila.

I've always enjoyed Agatha Christie, and her Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and if there are any of his stories still left that I haven't read, I'd love to find them. Her mysteries are spotless examples of plotting and characterization, misdirection and elegant suspense.

But I've recently become enamored with a different kind of mystery genre - psychological thrillers. In particular, I've come to devour anything by Robert Block and Stephen White that I can find.

Lawrence Block, author of the Bernie Rhodenbarr "Burglar" series I'll talk about another time, but Stephen White has created a character that is fascinating. Boulder, CO psycologist Alan Gregory.

As you can see to the right (at least for the time being) I'm reading "Warning Signs," which White wrote a couple of years ago. I came into the Alan Gregory series in the middle, checking out an audiobook copy of "Cold Case" from the library a year or so ago. Since with a single-author series, things happen to characters over the span of time that make it difficult to jump around from book to book. Events are referred to that I haven't read about, and recurring characters live and die from story to story, so I always like to read a series from the beginning. After I finished "Cold Case", I went back to his first book, "Privileged Information" and started from there.

Anyway, I can't say enough about White and his Alan Gregory series. Having read some Koontz, Robin Cook and even Michael Crichton lately, they can't hold a candle to White in terms of literary style, plotting, characterization... Gregory becomes involved in cases through his patients, in addition to his Assistant D.A. wife (well, girlfriend in the first couple of books). The books are in first person, inside Gregory's head, and we see him struggle with professional ethics and solving crimes from an outsider's perspective.

If you have a chance to pick up one of the books, I'd highly recommend them.

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