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by Stephen White - 11 Feb 2008
| I've Read Them All, May 17, 2006
- © Amazon.com
By L. Quido "quidrock" (Tampa, FL United States)
I've read all of Stephen White's books and reviewed all of them in one place or another. But I don't just slap an "excellent" or 5 star label on his work because I'm hooked on the series. I really believe that White looks at both his long running series (I believe this is book #13) with the attitude that he wants to keep it alive, but he wants to keep it fresh. He's employed a number of different methods over the years, but he really jolts his following with the 2006 novel, "Kill Me".
Big positives: If you do not follow series thrillers, or if you do not want to, and are coming along looking for a great read....you can enjoy "Kill Me" without ever having read an earlier White work. The author makes that happen by having his normal protagonist, Dr. Alan Gregory, play a critical, but less than central role. He does not include Gregory's wife and child, his practice partner, his friends (and we all miss crotchety Sam Purdy) in the novel at all.
One close relationship that Gregory has...between man and the elements in the beautiful state of Colorado, is back. Colorado is once again the breathtaking backdrop and home of the central character, a wealthy man, who (and I didn't even question it at the time!) remains unnamed throughout the book. White makes the beauty of the landscape come alive.
White has always written books with very brief chapters. At times that has annoyed. In this book, the chapterization clips with the pace of the growing fear and feeling of overwhelm one gets as a man's life ticks down to its final moments.
As Gregory's patient, the unnamed man is a force to be reckoned with....but having contracted to an organization that is to kill him if he has a disease or an accident that will leave him in a lingering vegatative state, he is having second thoughts. Big time. There is a family connection to his reasons to keep living, that I won't reveal here -- it's an inspired rationale. There is a beautiful and mysterious female that aids him in keeping alive. There is a heartthumping chase, some twists, and an agonizing demonstration of what it feels like to end your life without hope.
In the past, my criticism of White's work has usually been because he beats the dilemma of a psychologist who has a dangerous patient, not divulging information and breaking confidentiality. It's an interesting conundrum, but he goes back to it over and over. Not here. Not even once.
This is a masterful run at a familiar setting by an author who is underrated and who proves, with this, perhaps his best book, that he is unmatched at putting together the strategy for a book, and in building plot and character to execute it with precision.
Bravo....with 6 stars not available, I'll have to settle for 5. Don't wait for the paperback!
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