MANNER OF DEATH by Stephen White

MANNER OF DEATH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Dr. Alan Gregory, the Boulder psychologist whose previous six cases (Critical Conditions, p. 80, etc.) have all introduced him to murderers, becomes a killer’s target himself. The news comes when Gregory travels to Denver for his old school acquaintance Dr. Arnold Dresser’s funeral. A pair of retired FBI agents hired by Dresser’s mother lay out an elaborate pattern of accidents stretching back ten years, all involving members of the 1982 Orange Unit on Eight East of the University of Colorado’s Health Sciences Center. Long before Dresser froze to death after a mountain-climbing accident, Gregory’s supervising psychiatrist died in a plane crash; his fellow residents have fallen victim to malfunctioning tanning beds, disappeared from cruise ships, and been slain in drive-by shootings. And now, the ex-Feebies tell him, it’s his turn, since he and Dr. Sawyer Sackett Faire are the only surviving alumni of the 1982 Orange Unit. Gregory’s terror is mixed with guilt and fascination, since he can’t forget the torrid affair he and the beautiful, unapproachable Sawyer carried on during their residency. Now, when he does see her again, after replaying his memories of their earlier romance in unsparing detail, he—ll not only be able (under the direst possible circumstances) to get naked with her once more but will even find out secrets she was carrying around 17 years ago, though not before the killer booby-traps the renovation at Gregory’s house, tampers with his furnace, and sends his wife, ADA Lauren Crowder, and their dog to the hospital. The murderer, Gregory feverishly realizes, could be anybody connected with Eight East—the ex-patient reborn as a CNN anchor, the chess-playing schizophrenic Gregory was forced to release, the man who offered to trade the identity of real-life airplane hijacker D.B. Cooper for his ticket off the floor—and that wide set of choices is just the problem with this action-filled, unfocused suspenser. White is so good at pumping up menace that some readers will forgive the loose ends and high-energy, low-rationality windup. Not all of them, though.

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 1999
ISBN: 0-525-94440-0
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1998




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