- Series: Dr. Alan Gregory Novels
- Hardcover: 438 pages
- Publisher: Dutton; First Edition edition (August 20, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0525952608
- ISBN-13: 978-0525952602
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 298 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Compound Fractures (Dr. Alan Gregory Novels) Hardcover – August 20, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
At the start of bestseller White's engrossing 20th and final novel featuring Boulder, Colo., psychologist Alan Gregory (after 2012's Line of Fire), Gregory gives evasive answers to his new, inexperienced therapist, Delilah Travis, when she asks him about witnessing Diane, his professional partner and best friend, shooting his wife Lauren, an attorney. Meanwhile, Boulder cop Sam Purdy, another friend of Gregory's, may be leaving him at the mercy of a vindictive Boulder County DA, who is Lauren's boss and who considers Gregory a suspect in three murders. The shocking finale confirms White's central metaphor, drawn from the local story of tightrope walker Ivy Baldwin, who frequently crossed a half-mile canyon on a wire without a net and sometimes at night: life for the tormented psychologist is a fearful balancing act, where the only absolute is his desire to protect his children. He may survive, but at what cost to his soul? Agent: Robert Barnett, Williams & Connolly. (Aug.)
This is the twentieth and final Alan Gregory mystery. It opens soon after the end of Line of Fire (2012) and finds the Colorado psychologist’s life in disarray: his wife, Lauren, was seriously wounded in an attempt on her life; his practice is shrinking, adversely affected by the publicity surrounding recent events; and someone has surfaced with key evidence in an old case that could put Alan and his friend, police detective Sam Purdy, behind bars. Unlike many long-running series, which sort of just peter out, this one is coming to a deliberate conclusion. But this is no neat wrap-up of the psychologist/sleuth’s story: at the book’s end we feel that Alan’s life is simply veering off in a new direction, to a place where we will not be permitted to eavesdrop. This is an excellent wrap-up to a consistently excellent series, but it may be, at least for some readers, a difficult book to read, because finishing it means saying goodbye to an old friend. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: White’s Alan Gregory series has had a long and very successful run, and its publisher will be pulling out all the stops to ensure that Gregory goes out with trumpets blaring. --David Pitt
Top customer reviews
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This book was written in an interesting way, and I did enjoy the read. It was a bit of a page-turner, possibly because I knew it was the last in the series. It wasn't White's best Alan Gregory novel, but not the worst. But I hated some of the twists in the story and the extremely unsatisfactory ending to the series. If this weren't the LAST Alan Gregory book, the ending might have been OK, but since it was, the ending was terrible. Some of the things that happened in this book were ridiculously unbelievable (HBL & 9/11?! HOW many women were simultaneously flirting with the frequently milquetoast and annoying Alan!?), but mostly the END OF THE BOOK, which was the END OF THE SERIES just introduced brand new issues that are not going to be resolved or dealt with at all. I didn't necessarily want or expect a "happy ending," but I expected an ending. It almost seemed as if the door was left open to another book sometime down the road, but much hype was made about this being the last.
This is vintage White at his best. All the things we have come to love about him are here so far, but with a sense of urgency and desperation that breaks your heart. It all seems to be falling apart or coming together: I'll know soon. Who will be left standing? What truths will be revealed? What freedoms will be lost or gained? It all remains to be seen. I'm going to start reading slower to postpone the inevitable. It's my choice, but not Alan's Gregory's as his world and all he thought he knew is racing beyond his control to a collision.
Maybe I will be disappointed in the end. I have scanned reviews that suggest some readers are disappointed, but I can't imagine why. Stephen White is one of the greatest writers of this era. He is keenly intelligent, thoughtful, creates complex characters and plots, and surprises with such skill and thorough writing.
Maybe the bad reviews are like people who "diss" the best lover they ever had. As that lover chooses to walk out the door, they feel such rage at their loss that love turns to criticism.
Stephen White chose to stop writing this series. He explained why on his website. At one point, he alluded that the devolution of publishing practices contributed to his decision. Now like scorned lovers, we, his devoted readers are left alone, but through no fault of our own.
We are victims of circumstance and must buffer a great loss. So must Alan Gregory.
Author Stephen White channels what primal level loss and chaos feels like so expertly in this final book. If you are a Stephen White fan, it is not to be missed. Try it for yourself. Don't let the bad reviews persuade you. Read it with an open mind and enjoy the last thrilling ride with Stephen White and Alan Gregory. Read it as if it's not the last. Read it as if you are not already disappointed because it's over. Read it slowly to savor what we will likely not see again.
If you are new to this series, don't start here: go back to the beginning. If you are familiar and have not discovered Louise Penny, go find her series and start from the beginning.
Update: So far this book has not disappointed. When I wrote the original review I was about 52% per my Kindle. Now, I am at 86% and I can't keep reading. I don't want it to end. So, I went back to about 74%, and I am rereading just to make the pleasure last. The intricate details are all coming together. Of course, all remains to be seen, but I've enjoyed some funny and poignant moments between the characters as this all builds to an end. The interaction between Alan and Sam while discussing trust issues was worth the price of the book. Never have I enjoyed the psychological exploration of characters so much. This has been a worthy end to a classic series.
While the plot moves along at sometimes break neck speed, it's too often plagued by too many bits and pieces that don't seem to fit. And, I'm disappointed by the fall of a character who lost his moral and ethical compass. I didn't see how things could possibly be resolved and am sad to see it end the way it did.
Nonetheless, Compound Fractures is a good read, especially for any fan of White and his Dr. Alan Gregory. The story comes to an intense crescendo only to end with a whisper.escendo an