Harm's Way

Overview

When Dr. Alan Gregory's good friend Peter Arvin is found bloody and dying on the stage of a Colorado theatre, suspicion soars that he has become the second victim of a killer whose first prey was discovered amid the elaborate scenery of the road company's production of the Broadway show Miss Saigon. Alan is immediately asked to respond to two pleas for help: one from the police, who would like a psychological profile of the murderer, and one from Peter's widow, who is desperate to know the meaning of her dead ...
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Overview

When Dr. Alan Gregory's good friend Peter Arvin is found bloody and dying on the stage of a Colorado theatre, suspicion soars that he has become the second victim of a killer whose first prey was discovered amid the elaborate scenery of the road company's production of the Broadway show Miss Saigon. Alan is immediately asked to respond to two pleas for help: one from the police, who would like a psychological profile of the murderer, and one from Peter's widow, who is desperate to know the meaning of her dead husband's secrets. As Alan struggles to cope with the complexities of his new marriage and the shattering personal consequences of his friend's murder, provocative clues lead him down a trail that winds from the Front Range of the Rockies to the casinos of the Colorado high country and finally to the grandeur outside Jackson Hole, Wyoming. His journey takes him deep into Peter's past and inevitably toward the discovery of harrowing truths about the human heart - about the struggle for survival and the quest for forgiveness - that seem always just out of his reach, obscured by the smoke of a long-forgotten fire.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The extravagantly showy murder of a very private man opens White's engrossing fourth story about Colorado psychologist Alan Gregory (following Higher Authority). Alan's friend and neighbor, Peter Arvin, a skilled woodworker and solo mountain climber, is found tortured and bleeding to death on top of a grand piano on the stage of the Boulder Theatre. After Peter dies at the hospital where his wife, Adrienne, is a urologist, police detective Sam Purdy asks Alan to work up an informal profile of the killer to see whether it matches that of the person being sought for a similar murder in Denver. Complying with Adrienne's desire to be able to tell her young son, Jason, more about his father, Alan also investigates Peter's past. These linked efforts, soon complicated by a third theater murder in a nearby town, call on the full reach of Alan's professional skills and lead him into unexpected territory, psychological and geographic. He visits Jackson, Wyo., to find out from Peter's family about a forest fire Peter experienced as a young man, and he encounters danger at the construction site of a Colorado casino where more murders are discovered. All the while, he observes the relationships of others-Peter and Adrienne's unique marriage; the attraction of the woman cop in charge of the Denver murder to Sam Purdy; his own attraction to Jason Arvin's young nanny-through the lens of his love for his new ( and second) wife, Lauren, an assistant DA who makes some cogent observations of her own about the crimes. White, a psychologist, informs this intricate tale with convincing emotion. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Is there a serial killer staging grisly murders in northern Colorado theaters, or was the murderer of Alan Gregory's neighbor, Peter Arvin, mimicking a recent Denver killing? Boulder detective and friend Sam Purdy asks clinical psychologist Gregory to profile the murderer(s), while the widow urges Gregory to find out about Arvin's life before he met her. The trail leads from Arvin's family to a college pal and a casino construction site in a growing gambling town near Boulder, where the rising body count defies forensic resolution. At risk of his life, Gregory and his assistant D.A. wife help Purdy unravel the web of consequences of a single past decision. In White's fourth thriller, Gregory once again takes center stage, after a supporting role in Higher Authority (LJ 10/1/94). This highly recommended title is skillfully plotted with a cast of finely drawn characters and a strong sense of place.-V. Louise Saylor, Eastern Washington Univ. Lib., Cheney
Kirkus Reviews
After a brief semi-hiatus (Higher Authority, 1994), in which his lawyer wife was featured, improbable sleuthing headshrink Alan Gregory returns.

Not that the premise isn't admirably serpentine and sexually kinky: Gregory's pal Peter Arvin, a master carpenter, is found murdered, lashed to a piano on the stage of an old Boulder, Colorado, theater, stabbed 16 times. The cops have found semen stains in the theater's seats, and surmise, after a similar killing in another town, that they've got a serial killer on their hands. The motive is elusive, however, so Gregory finds himself recruited to develop a psychological profile of the murderer. Trouble is that the two killings bear few real similarities, apart from the spilled seed. Once again, White offers plenty of red herrings, compounded here by Arvin's traumatic past (he was involved in the death of a young hiker caught in a brushfire), his affair with his son's nanny, and a suspicious business relationship with an old friend. Meanwhile, Gregory gets help from his devoted wife, who suffers from MS, and from a police buddy, Sam Purdy. Initial single-killer theories soon give way to a deliciously sick, Helter Skelter explanation that has the murders being conducted by a troupe of bloodthirsty performance artists, but the author lets that one go in favor of plot convolutions that wend in more pedestrian directions: Everything seems to hinge on the circumstances surrounding that brushfire. There is some good fun along the way, including a memorable cement-mixer chase scene and a few extra murders, but White spends far too much time filtering the investigation through Gregory's nebbishy perspective for matters to get properly thrilling. Then there's the ceaseless shilling for the virtues of Western landscape, plus an annoying interweaving of the play Miss Saigon with the book's story.

Not a huge disappointment for Gregory fans, but certainly a test of their patience.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441856791
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 10/28/2010
  • Series: Dr. Alan Gregory Series , #4
  • Edition description: Abridged, 5 CDs, 6 hrs.
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen White is a clinical psychologist and a New York Times bestselling author of eighteen previous crime novels, including The Siege and The Last Lie. He lives in Colorado.
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Table of Contents

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Ludicrous

    CD/abridged/Thriller: This was book 18 of the Dr. Alan Gregory series, which I had never heard of. This book read more like a cheesy Patterson book. A bloody body is found dead in a theater and it looks like the killer may actually be a group of people enacting the murder on stage. Some may be watching the murder while masturbating; tho outlandish. Alan is brought to the scene and asked to help the police with a profile. Of course, Alan gets in over his head looking for the murderers. Just....skip it.

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