Higher Authority

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Overview

The sudden death of Utah's Senator Orrin Hatch propels his successor, Lester Horner, first into Hatch's Senate seat and then on to become the first Mormon associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Carried along with Horner is Blythe Oaks, an ambitious and intelligent woman who is also Horner's favorite law clerk and a fellow Mormon. But Blythe's reputation - and, by extension, Lester Horner's - is threatened when a female former employee accuses her of sexual harassment and career sabotage. In Higher Authority...
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Overview

The sudden death of Utah's Senator Orrin Hatch propels his successor, Lester Horner, first into Hatch's Senate seat and then on to become the first Mormon associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Carried along with Horner is Blythe Oaks, an ambitious and intelligent woman who is also Horner's favorite law clerk and a fellow Mormon. But Blythe's reputation - and, by extension, Lester Horner's - is threatened when a female former employee accuses her of sexual harassment and career sabotage. In Higher Authority White shifts his focus from Dr. Alan Gregory, the hero of Privileged Information and the national bestseller Private Practices, to Alan's fiancee, Lauren Crowder. The pool-shooting deputy D.A.'s life is already complicated enough as she picks her way through her relationship with Alan at the same time she is fighting her quiet and dignified battle with multiple sclerosis. But since Blythe's accuser happens to be Lauren's kid sister, aspiring stand-up comic Teresa Crowder, Lauren plunges into the case. And she gets immediate help from an old law school buddy, Robin Torr, whose practice is in Salt Lake City. When, suddenly, Blythe Oaks is savagely murdered in Washington, D.C., the lengths to which someone will go to protect secrets that might prove embarrassing to higher authorities in the church are starkly revealed. And as Crowder and Torr probe more and more deeply into these secrets, with timely help from Alan Gregory and his old friend Detective Sam Purdy of the Boulder, Colorado, police, White's tough but determined women find the body count growing and themselves placed in jeopardy by a remorseless killer.

Dr. Alan Gregory's fiance, attorney Lauren Crowder, is thrown into a maelstrom of violence as a case of sexual harassment strikes a devastating chord among the nation's most powerful leaders. But this legal time bomb soon explodes when crucial evidence disappears, and a killer strikes.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
White keeps on getting better.
Nelson DeMille
Stephen White writes thrillers of the first order.
Denver Post
White keeps on getting better.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nuanced, vivid characterization-especially of the right-wing fanatics who are the possible conspirators behind the nasty goings-on in White's third novel (Privileged Information; Private Practices)-makes this an engrossing thriller. Lester Horner, the first Mormon to sit on the Supreme Court, is implicated when his law clerk, fellow Mormon Blythe Oaks, is charged with sexual harassment by former employee Teresa Crowder. To help her cause, Teresa enlists the aid of her lawyer sister, Lauren, who persuades an old law school pal, Salt Lake City attorney Robin Toner, to handle the case. After Blythe is found murdered and a private investigator hired by Robin turns up dead, Teresa disappears and Lauren turns to Alan Gregory, her fianc and the hero of White's earlier novels, to help sort matters out. Is the Mormon Church responsible for the murders? The conclusion provides an ambiguous answer, but in the meantime White has portrayed the Church of the Latter Day Saints as an implacable, nearly all-powerful villain. The main plot line is relatively straightforward; it's the ancillary action and the rich characters that enliven this novel: Teresa's habit of disappearing during moments of stress; Lauren's ongoing battle with multiple sclerosis and her relationship with Alan; the secretive and fascinating Mormon church. While some readers may find White's pot shots at Mormonism offensive, even bigoted, there's no doubt that he's cooked up a thriller that will keep most of his large readership happily entertained. 35,000 first printing; paperback rights to Signet; author tour. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Attorney Lauren Crowder recommends a Salt Lake City lawyer for her younger sister, who has accused her former boss, an impeccably Mormon woman with high political and church connections, of sexual harassment. Crowder assists a private investigator in gathering information on the potentially explosive case, but murder intervenes: someone kills the P.I. and the former boss. Crowder then calls upon boyfriend Alan Gregory (Private Practices, Viking, 1993) to outmaneuver the ubiquitous, corrupt tentacles of the Mormon church. Much background research supports fine prose, subtle characterization, and intricate plotting. A good selection.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780736630429
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/10/1995
  • Series: Dr. Alan Gregory Series , #3
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 10 Cassettes

Meet the Author

Stephen White is a clinical psychologist and the New York Times bestselling author of sixteen novels, including Kill Me and Dry Ice. He lives in Colorado.

Biography

Anyone who has ever tried his or her hand at writing has surely heard the sage advice "write what you know." Stephen White has most-assuredly taken that bit of wisdom to heart in creating his thrilling series of Alan Gregory novels. A clinical psychologist, White has crafted a character with a similar background that has also benefited from his fifteen years of professional practice.

White has been keeping fans of psychological thrillers on the edges of their seats ever since he published his first novel Privileged Information in 1991. The book introduced his literary alter ego Dr. Alan Gregory and made ample use of everything he'd gleaned while working as a practicing psychologist. "There are two benefits of my previous experience as a psychologist that I consider invaluable to my life as a writer," White revealed in an interview on his web site (www.authorstephenwhite.com). "The first is that my work gave me a chance to observe and study the infinite varieties of motivation that human beings have for their behavior. The other is that being a psychotherapist exposed me to dialogue in its purest form. For eight to ten hours a day over a period of fifteen years I had the privilege of sitting and listening to a wide variety of people just talk. I can't imagine a better training ground for writing dialogue."

As for how similar he truly is to his most-famous creation beyond their shared profession, White says, "The similarities don't exactly end there but there's no need to exaggerate them, either. Although neither of us is a model of mental health, his neuroses are different than mine. And he has advantages that I never had as a psychotherapist. First, he has the benefit of all my years of experience. And second, I get to think about his lines as long as I'd like. Real patients never offer that luxury." The resulting debut novel won rave reviews from the likes of The New York Daily News, Publisher's Weekly, and The Library Journal and established White as a writer to watch.

White followed Privileged Information with over a dozen additional installments of the Alan Gregory adventures. The latest may very well be the most exciting and psychologically provocative episode yet. In Kill Me, a happily-married extreme sports enthusiast and patient of Gregory's makes a deal with a clandestine organization called Death Angels Inc. that may very well bring his life to an untimely end. As always, Dr. Alan Gregory is present, but he plays more of a background role than he does in most of White's other novels. Still, fans of White's previous work will surely be captivated by the novel that Booklist has deemed "Bizarre, thrilling, and oh so much fun" and fellow bestselling writer Michael Connelly (Blood Work, The Closers) asserts is "his best yet."

In any event, White has no immediate plans of abandoning Gregory to write a non-series novel. "My series is commercially successful, thanks to all of you," he says. "As important for me as the commercial success is, the fact [is] that the series is also creatively flexible.... [I] anticipate staying with the series as long as the readers are interested..." If that's the case, then readers can expect the Dr. Alan Gregory to have a long and psychologically healthy life.

Good To Know

Contrary to the rumor mill, the Stephen White who created Alan Gregory is not the same Stephen White who has written a series of books about...ahem ... Barney the Purple Dinosaur. However, White admits that he has occasionally signed the other Stephen White's Barney books when asked to.

For those who are wondering what ever happened to the seemingly long-lost book Saints and Sinners, which was excerpted in Private Practices, you may have already read it without even realizing. Shortly before publication, the title Saints and Sinners was changed to Higher Authority. Some interesting outtakes from our interview with White:

"Jonathan Kellerman and I were colleagues in the early 1980's before either of us were novelists. At a time when our nascent field was very small, we were both psychologists specializing in the psychological aspects of childhood cancer. Jon was at Los Angeles Childrens Hospital. I was at The Children's Hospital in Denver."

"My brother is a better writer than I am."

"One of my first jobs was as a tour guide at Universal Studios. I lasted five weeks. That's two weeks longer than I lasted as a creative writing major during my freshman year at the University of California."

"I worked at Chez Panisse in Berkeley in 1971-72, running the upstairs café, waiting tables, and occasionally doing some cooking. Two of my bosses were Alice Waters and Jeremiah Tower. They both cook better than I write. Jeremiah actually writes better than I cook."

"I learned to fly an airplane before I learned to drive a car".

"I'm a lucky man. I've spent much of my adult life in two terrific, rewarding careers. In the first, as a clinical psychologist, I spent eight to twelve hours a day in a room with one other person. In the second, as a writer, I spend a similar number of hours a day in a room with no other person, though sometimes I'm blessed with the company of a dog or two."

"A primary difference between the two experiences? As a psychotherapist, only one other person -- my patient -- typically observed my work. Virtually no one ever critiqued it. As a novelist, literally millions of people observe my work, and most feel no compunction whatsoever about critiquing it. Being a writer is a lovely thing. But adapting to the reality of being read has been a constant source of wonder for me."

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    1. Hometown:
      Colorado
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 20, 1951
    2. Place of Birth:
      Long Island, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., UC Berkeley, 1972; M.A., University of Colorado, Boulder, 1975; Ph.D., 1979
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2005

    A thriller as well as revealing!

    I have read all of Stephen White's books, but didn't get my hands on this one till recently. WOW...not only a great thriller, but White takes a giant step in revealing the truth behind the ugliness of a growing religion, Mormonism, that is truly a secretive, and at the least, odd, CULT. A good read with an in-depth mystery that begs you to check your own beliefs and ideals against what is truly right and wrong.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2001

    Listening To The Best Scary Story

    This is absolutely the best adult scary story I've listened to. I'm glad that it was in October, just in time for Halloween. There are plenty of cliffhangers and plot-twists to keep the suspense without scaring me to death. I also enjoyed learning more about the Mormon Church.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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