Boulder author's 12th his finest yet
Sunday, February 08, 2004
Boulder psychologist Alan Gregory and his pal, police detective Sam Purdy, find themselves caught up in the search for a serial killer in "Blinded," the newest novel in the popular Gregory series by Colorado author Stephen White.
"Blinded" begins with the return to Gregory's office of Gibbs Storey, a breathtaking woman who, 10 years earlier, had undergone counseling with the psychologist. She had been accompanied by her husband, Sterling. The sessions ended after a few sessions when the Storeys moved to California.
A decade later, Gibbs and Sterling move back to Boulder, and Gibbs again comes to Gregory for help. This time, however, things are different. Gibbs wants Alan to tell police in Laguna Beach, Calif., that she knows her husband killed a woman there in 1997.
Gibbs said the woman, a flight attendant, had become a family friend
before she and Sterling began an affair.
Moreover, Gibbs believes the flight attendant is not the only women Sterling has killed as he traveled the country for his job as a television producer of sports events.
Boulder is not one of the places that Gibbs thinks a murder happened. Still, Detective Purdy lands in the middle of the investigation by happenstance.
The weekend before Gibbs shares her fears with Gregory, Purdy suffers a mild heart attack while visiting the psychologist's home. It is severe enough that the department puts Purdy on a medical leave of absence.
The detective's marriage also shows signs of breaking. He finds himself bored and discontent after his wife and son leave for an open-ended stay with her parents in the Midwest.
All that helps herd Purdy into the investigation where he meets Gibbs, whose beauty, sensuality and obvious fear of her husband captivate him.
Gregory's concern for Gibbs grows when she tells him that Sterling likely will try to kill her for what she has done, yet she repeatedly refuses the safety of a Boulder battered-women's shelter.
As events unfold, Purdy heads to the South in hopes of locating Sterling, who reportedly drowned in a rain-swollen river while trying to rescue a woman whose car skidded off a bridge.
He next heads to Indiana when Gibbs concludes that her husband is alive and plans to kill a woman in South Bend. In Indianapolis, he partners up with a stern but appealing female detective from a California sheriff's office.
Purdy's travels bring him and the reader into contact with some of the more interesting supporting characters ever to populate a White novel.
Meanwhile, Gregory remains in Boulder supporting Gibbs and trying to figure out how confidential information shared by some clients has become public knowledge. He eventually finds an electronic bug in his office, proving his suspicion that one of his clients wants to ruin his practice.
White does a masterful job of meshing the plot and subplots, which include the continuing story line of his wife, Lauren, coping with multiple sclerosis while working as an assistant district attorney and raising a year-old daughter.
"Blinded" stands as White's best work. It is his 12th book and he just
gets better and better. He carries the label of thriller or mystery writer,
but his graceful prose and insightful development of characters make him
an author worthy of the title without any limiting adjectives.
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