>> Monday, September 20, 2010
Harm’s Way by Stephen White
Series: #4 in the Dr. Alan Gregory series
Publication Date: 1996
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #38
The Short Version:
Psychologist Alan Gregory is asked to help profile a killer, but the twist is that the victim was a friend and neighbor of Dr. Gregory.
Why I Read It:
This series featuring a Colorado psychologist is an interesting blend of psychological mystery and crime fiction. It’s one of those series I pick up about once a year.
When Detective Sam Purdy shows up at Alan Gregory’s house the first news is that a friend and neighbor of Alan’s has been brutally murdered. The second bit of news is that Detective Purdy wants Alan to participate in the investigation as a profiler because this murder may be connected to a similar killing in Denver and the police are wondering if they’ve got a serial killer on their hands.
Alan is reluctant because of his connection to the victim, but when it becomes clear that he didn’t know his friend nearly as well as he thought he did, he changes his mind.
The story becomes one of finding out about his friend’s past as much as about finding his killer. Alan has to confront some secrets he’d rather not know before it’s all over.
I enjoy this series and find it’s one I return to about once a year or so. I enjoy the blend of crime fiction and psychological thriller. Alan has become friendlier with Detective Purdy over the course of the series. Their friendship/working relationship is still rather prickly, but it’s developing into a mutual respect.
One thing I’ve enjoyed about this series is that each book is different enough to feel not quite formulaic. The investigations that Alan becomes involved in are varied enough to maintain my interest. Yes there’s some of the psychologist (or any other non law enforcement person) playing amateur investigator clichés. You know at some point Alan is going to do something stupid to put himself in danger.
The mystery itself in this one was a two parter for me. I figured out fairly early on who was involved in the killing, so while the whodunit portion of the story wasn’t much of a surprise, the how and why as well as how they will be caught parts held my interest.