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Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Last Lie by Stephen White

The Last Lie returns Dr. Alan Gregory, the Boulder psychologist to the forefront. White's last book, The Siege, was a bit of a departure and featured detective Sam Purdy, Gregory's frequent sidekick in an excellent storyline, full of adventure.  Unfortunately, the newest Alan Gregory installment isn't nearly as good.

When a new neighbor complains about Gregory's dog and whether Emily should be off her leash, Gregory finds the man supercilious and develops an instinctive distrust of the man who is well-known for his work in the area of women's rights.

After a housewarming party at the home of the new neighbor, a young widow, one of the guests, claims she was raped.  There are blank spots, however, in her memory of the event.  Although she believes her rapist was her host, the memory gaps create problems.

Dr. Gregory is supervising a young psychologist who has been treating the young woman and has  insights into the case that he cannot share.  At the same time, his wife Lauren (an assistant DA) and his friend detective Sam Purdy also have information that they can't share for legal reasons.   

On several levels, this book didn't work as well as previous books in this series.   I had difficulties with some of the lengthy comparisons to the Kobe Bryant case.  Not with the allusion as such, but with the drawn out, hypothetical presentation.. The reader can understand the possibilities in a paragraph or two and doesn't need a couple of pages. 

Gregory's behavior seemed unusual at times, unlike his previous incarnations somehow.  Maybe this is partly because I've missed a novel in the series that sets up a change in Gregory's outlook and behavior.   The portion involving Jonas didn't ring true for me, either, and this bit bothered me.

It is difficult to discuss the problems I had with the book without spoilers, but I never felt truly involved with the plot or the characters. 

Fiction.  Mystery.  2010.  416 pages.

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