Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this gripping tale, the fifth tale (after Harm's Way) to feature Boulder, Colo., psychologist Alan Gregory, White shifts his focus to Gregory's wife, assistant DA Lauren Crowder. Lauren shoots at the figure of man in a blizzard while trying to protect her friend, Emma Spire, who became an unwilling Kennedy-level celebrity when her father, the U.S. surgeon general, was assassinated by anti-abortion radicals. When the police find a man critically wounded by gunshot in the nearby street, Lauren turns herself in. Emma's fears have been triggered by an attempted kidnapping and by the disappearance of a disk made by her boyfriend, computer genius Ethan Han, who has a special interest in virtual reality. On the disk, Ethan has recorded his neurological responses during their lovemaking. In trying to maintain Emma's privacy, Lauren is cryptic with the police, exacerbating their suspicions of her actions-and causing a flare-up of the symptoms accompanying her multiple sclerosis. Throughout, White cuts between Lauren's jailhouse ordeal and events leading to the arrest. Did Lauren do it, or was another shooter nearby? Is Emma's peril connected to her father's murder? Despite the preposterous premise (experienced prosecutor with impaired vision fires a gun in a blinding snowstorm), White keeps the reader hooked as Lauren, Alan and their attorneys try to establish her innocence. The savvy, sassy lawyers, named Casey and Cozy, deserve their own book. 100,000 first printing; author tour. (Apr.)
In his fifth Alan Gregory novel (following Harms Way, LJ 2/1/95), White unwinds a tightly constructed thriller involving attempted murder, high technology, and politics. Psychologist and amateur sleuth Gregory here plays a supporting role to his new wife, Deputy D.A. Lauren Crowder, who's charged with shooting a man to protect her law intern, Emma Spire. At the center of the story is Emma, a media darling for her courage years earlier when her surgeon general father was assassinated for his freedom-of-choice views and died in her arms. Desperately trying to protect her privacy, Emma finds herself vulnerable to unimaginable violation after becoming romantically involved with high-tech wizard Ethan Han, and she turns to Lauren and Alan for help. White shows sensitivity in his characterizations, in dealing with Lauren's multiple sclerosis, and in giving a D.A.'s view of what an arrested person endures. He has another top-notch page-turner here.-Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P. L., Va.
An unexpected role for clinical psychologist Dr. Alan Gregory's wife, Boulder County Deputy D.A. Lauren Crowder: This time she isn't going after bad guys (Higher Authority, 1994), but trying to keep the cops from jailing her for shooting a mysterious stalker.
White starts off with two bangs. First, Emma Spire watches in horror as her Surgeon General father is killed by an indignant right-to-lifer; then, after a leap of two years, Lauren, who's taken Emma under her wing as an intern, fires a shot at a threatening intruder at Emma's place. Weaving back and forth in time, White alternates scenes of Lauren's cop friends rapidly turning on her, duly shocked that she'd lawyer herself up if she has nothing to hide, with flashbacks showing an attempted kidnapping that explains why Emma, already a media darling in the ugliest way possible, is so terrified of strangers. But it's Emma's new lover, computerized-prosthesis wizard Ethan Han, who's hiding the scariest secret of all: a software package that records physical sensations with such uncanny accuracy that when a CD-ROM enshrining his feelings during a marathon lovemaking session with Emma is stolen, she cries to Lauren and Alan: "I am about to become shareware." Did the kidnappers return to rape a virtual Emma? Did Kevin Quirk, the smitten former Secret Service bodyguard Emma begged to help her, turn on her instead? Or did Ethan himself only claim the disk was stolen? Adept as White is at spinning out the criminal possibilities, the real fun here is watching Lauren, secretly afflicted by MS and nearly blinded by optic neuritis, surround herself with a formidable battery of doctors and lawyers that will keep cops and prison at bay while her more mobile allies comb the snowy crime scene for the evidence she prays will clear her.
Nonstop injections of adrenaline make this White's finest hour, even if the main action lasts only a single night. Only the cluttered denouement is a letdown.