Sunday, July 13

Dead Time - Stephen White

Boulder psychologist Alan Gregory has a lot on his plate - his marriage is shaky but viable, and he and Lauren are working on integrating Jonas, the son of his friend and colleague Adrienne, into the family. But when ex-wife Merideth asks for help, Alan can't say no. Unable to carry a child herself, she and her fiance have hired a surrogate who's now missing, and it's somehow tied up with a camping trip several years earlier, where a young woman vanished from the floor of the Grand Canyon. As Alan and police detective friend Sam Purdy find themselves investigating in LA, well off their usual beaten track, they discover something bigger than they initially suspected.
Which surprised me, because it's always more complex than they go in thinking. Dead Time wasn't bad, it just wasn't great, and White can do great when he wants. I found myself more invested int he personal dynamic between Alan and Jonas, and between Alan and Jonas' uncle Martin (which was real and complex and multi-layered) than I did with the mystery sections.
Maybe I'm just in a gripy mood, but I'm a little sick of complicated plots and intricate thrillers. Maybe I just need to take a break from the genre altogether for a bit, because I usually love White's work, and not just because I always feel a link to my sister who lives in Boulder when I read his writing. So - not his best, and if you want to check out White's often really very good writing, start at the beginning and be pleasantly surprised. - Alex

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