We’re just in the first week of continuous, daily blog posts, but it looks like Wednesdays are going to be author spotlight day. Today we want to point you in the direction of novelist Stephen White, creator of the Dr. Alan Gregory series of thriller/mysteries.
So far as I’m concerned, White is right up there with the front rank of psychological action thriller writers, so it’s a little surprising that most of you will probably not have heard of his series. He’s been writing them since 1991 and is now on his 18th book.
If NewAlbanyBooks is going to serve any purpose, it has to be a source of information you otherwise would not have discovered. You can expect us to point you toward particularly fine authors you’ve either forgotten or never heard of. If you like the genre at all (think, Jonathan Kellerman, Patricia Cornwell, Randy Wayne White, etc.), you owe it to yourself to sample the Dr. Alan Gregory series and, perhaps, begin a year or two of getting truly acquainted with this intriguing character.
Dr. Alan Gregory is a clinical psychologist with a thriving practice in Boulder, Colorado. The setting is, encouragingly, an ongoing major character. I’ve visited Boulder and the Front Range, so it was pretty easy for me to get my bearings. For those of you who have lived there or spent extensive time there (it’s the home of the University of Colorado, and less than an hour from any point in Denver, but not quite into ski country), you’re going to love all the references to the landscapes and the lifestyles of Boulderites.
At the beginning of the series, Alan is a single man living the life of an affluent, upwardly mobile professional. He’s well-established in his career, connected, and respected. When a client turns up dead and rumors swirl that the good doctor may have crossed the boundaries of doctor-patient relations, he’s forced to become an investigator.
Here, in book one, is where we meet his future wife, deputy district attorney Lauren Crowder, who is investigating the death as a homicide.
Throughout the series, Alan works closely with Lauren, who struggles with multiple sclerosis, and with Boulder detective Sam Purdy in the investigation of crimes. But here is where some of the best storytelling comes in. Much of what Alan knows (or learns), is privileged information under the medico-ethical proscriptions of doctor-patient confidentiality. We get to observe this moral struggle each time a critical piece of information is known only by the doctor, and how he manages to unravel these mysteries without violating his precepts lends a heightened degree of suspense to every book.
I recommend the series highly as our first “Check Out” of 2011. Read on to get a brief synopsis of each novel, which I’ve listed in chronological order below. At the end, I’ll add a few “Easter Eggs” as a reward for reading to the end.
Most of these titles are available from Penguin’s Viking imprint. Books 9-12 are still published under Random House’s Dell imprint. In 2005, White moved over to Penguin and it took a few years for that house to acquire the rights to the first 8 books in the series. All the books since 2005 are available as premium mass market paperbacks (PMM), with the exception of the latest, Last Lie, which is still in hardcover. The PMMs are those slightly larger (taller) “drugstore” paperbacks, designed with marginally larger print (though not “large print”) and more white space for ease of reading, and they sell for $9.99. Books 1-12 are still available in the traditional drugstore mass market format at $7.99.
This BLOG POST is incomplete…it will be annotated and amended before 11 p.m. EST, Jan. 5, 2011.
The complete book list, in order of publication:
1. Privileged Information (1991)
One of Alan’s patients is found dead and her diary describes her sexual obsession with Alan—and his willing involvement.
2. Private Practices (1992)
Alan gets caught in the middle when two seemingly “accidental” deaths occur to a pair of grand jury witnesses.
3. Higher Authority (1994)
Lauren Crowder is thrown into a maelstrom of violence in a case of sexual harassment involving the Mormon church.
4. Harm’s Way (1996)
The murderer of Alan Gregory’s neighbor may be the work of a serial killer.
5. Remote Control (1997)
Lauren’s friend Emma Spires is the target of a stalker. Can Lauren help save her?
6. Critical Conditions (1998)
Alan is called in after Sam Purdy’s 15-year-old niece attempts to end her own life.
7. Manner of Death (1999)
Alan’s former colleagues’ deaths are not occurring from natural causes. Who is targeting them?
8. Cold Case (1999)
Alan Gregory and Lauren Crowder are asked to assist a private crime fighting organization known as Locard.
9. The Program (2001)
Kirsten Lord and her nine-year old daughter accept the Witness Protection Program’s offer to hide them in Boulder.
10. Warning Signs (2003)
The brutal slaying of Boulder’s controversial D.A. strikes deep in the heart of everything Alan Gregory holds dear.
11. The Best Revenge (2003)
What price do we pay for keeping secrets—even from ourselves?
12. Blinded (2004)
This Alan Gregory novel is about the bonds that hold men and women together and the betrayals that tear them apart.
13. Missing Persons (2005)
Alan Gregory finds his own colleague dead while one of her patients has gone missing from Boulder on Christmas Day.
14. Kill Me (2006)
What if you could choose when to die? But once you decide you can’t change your mind. Ever.
15. Dry Ice (2007)
One of Alan’s former patients is back for revenge — and nothing will ever be the same.
16. Dead Time (2008)
Alan’s former wife, Merideth, asks for his help, dragging him into a complicated mystery that reaches back years.
17. The Siege (2009)
Sam Purdy finds himself in the middle of a kidnapping on the Yale campus.
18. The Last Lie (2010)
Alan Gregory’s new neighbors host a housewarming party that ends in quiet disaster.