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The Last Lie    by Stephen White order for
Last Lie
by Stephen White
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In The Last Lie, clinical psychologist Stephen White brings fans another thoughtful psychological thriller starring his popular lead Dr. Alan Gregory, a psychotherapist who practices in Boulder, Colorado. Alan and his wife Lauren, a deputy DA who suffers from multiple sclerosis, live in Spanish Hills. Detective Sam Purdy of the Boulder PD is a close friend.

As The Last Lie opens, high profile attorney Mattin Snow and his wife Mimi move in next door to the Gregory's, to the home previously owned by their close friends Adrienne and Peter, who have both died. Alan and Lauren have a daughter, Grace, and have adopted their dead friends' eleven-year-old son Jonas, who is going through difficult adjustments (now losing his family home as well as his parents).

Alan is also involved in a psychotherapy supervision (mentoring) relationship with young Boulder psychologist Hella Zoet. Because of this, he learns about an accusation of rape made against his new neighbor by a young woman who attended a housewarming party next door - the victim is Hella's patient. The information that Alan acquires from Hella puts him in an awkward situation since both his wife and Sam are involved in the active investigation.

As Alan's knowledge of the case grows slowly, and from unexpected sources, readers learn that his and Lauren's relationship has been shaky since she had an affair. She and others put pressure on Alan to sell their home, move into town, and make a fresh start. The author also incorporates distasteful aspects of how celebrity lawyer wizards handle rape accusations - explaining it, Sam asks 'Is it witness tampering? Or is it damn good lawyering?'

This long, slow build-up leads to a violent and action-packed confrontation with a killer, at the end of which Lauren proves that, despite her MS, she has what it takes when her loved ones are at risk. Though the development of the mystery was a little scattered in The Last Lie, it's a good and thought-provoking story, and it's always a pleasure to spend time with the eminently rational Alan Gregory.

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