Relentlessly probing the very edge of the human psyche as only he can, psychologist and New York Times best-selling author Stephen White ratchets up the thrills in Blinded, a new novel of psychological suspense - his most compelling and powerful yet.Gibbs Storey is a woman no man can resist. When her comfortable life is shattered by the man she thought it was safe to give her heart to, the nightmare has only just begun. Psychologist Alan Gregory is used to dealing with nightmares. But a brutal, shocking confession locks him into darkness - and forces him to choose between saving himself and saving those who will otherwise end their days pleading for mercy at the hands of a vicious serial killer. What Alan can't see is that either choice might cost him his life...In riveting, explosive scenes that have become his hallmark, Stephen White delivers an unsettling and gripping story that penetrates to the heart of terror and transfixes readers like no one else can.
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Though I've read or listened to the entire Alan Gregory series since I've never been very fond of the protagonist, or especially his wife. The fact that Sam played a larger role in this audio was a definite positive. Some of the details of Sam's life; his divorce from his wife Sherri and his relationship with his son Simon were poignant without being maudlin. The stirrings of his new relationship with Carmen rang true for me; reminiscent of relationships that have begun in the workplace. I also greatly enjoyed his travelogue focused on thanksgiving meals; as a longtime reader/listener it was so apropos of Sam that food was the centerpiece. This book begins when a former client of Alan's Gibbs Storey shows up to tell someone that her husband is a killer. Gibbs is the type of beautiful woman that makes other beautiful women feel faded and fat so naturally Alan is immediately pulled into the middle of it. He enlists Sam's aid, and since Sam is currently on suspension and needs the money he takes it on. As per usual Alan is a whiny wienie who's condescended to by pretty much everyone else in the book. His wife Lauren Crowder's role in this one is thankfully brief and Diane is usual snarky self; as is indicated when it's revealed that her nickname for Gibbs is "The Dancing Queen" ABBA's 1970's hit. All in all this is one of my favorite books in the Alan Gregory series.
Surely 2013's worst news for followers of the Alan Gregory series was that author Stephen White is pulling the plug. There's a couple more in the pipeline, but the 20th book will be the last.
I've loved this series. There hasn't been a bad book in the lot -- some have been marginally better, some not quite as satisfying, but every installment has delivered plenty of intriguing characters, fascinating stories, white knuckle moments and as always, any number of laugh out loud lines. As soon as I heard the series was ended, I began buying the audio versions of the books -- I've had, and have read, all the paper versions as they came out, but now I also wanted to enjoy the audio books, all of which are read by the incredible Dick Hill, one of the finest and most professional of the narrator crowd. You won't hear any mispronounced words or place names from Dick Hill! He's perfection personified.
All in all, 'Blinded' was a superb production. Before I 'met' Alan Gregory and his wife Lauren, I didn't know anything at all about Multiple Sclerosis -- thank Gd, I didn't know anything about it -- so I've always been fascinated by the details of this terrible disease, as Lauren's struggles with it ebb and flow. There's a lot of that in 'Blinded', as Lauren's 'brain mud' worsens and her condition takes its toll on the whole family. I love Emily the Bouvier, I love Sam Purdy -- love the Minnesota accent done just fine by Dick Hill, love Purdy's homespun wisdom, his forthright sense of justice and fair play. He plays a big part in this book, too. Dr. Diane Esteves, Gregory's partner, plays a lesser role, but she scores several of the belly laugh lines -- no spoiler, but a running joke throughout has to do with having an axe in the head. (You'll have to listen to it, you really will...)
And of course I love the wacky characters -- the clients who come to Dr. Gregory with their issues. There's plenty of those in this book, too. I noticed that a couple book reviewers said the story line was "predictable" -- but once again, I sure as heck didn't predict that ending. I suppose almost every book in a fictional detective series is predictable, in some sense -- you can predict that the main character will survive to fight another day. That said, I can't imagine that many people figured this one out in advance. But even if they had, in these books, it's the journey that's fun, not the arrival at the destination.
'Blinded' is a worthy entry in the Alan Gregory chronicles. I have no doubt that over the years, I'll listen to this one again and again.