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Compound Fractures    by Stephen White order for
Compound Fractures
by Stephen White
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Stephen White really puts Boulder Colorado psychologist Alan Gregory through the wringer in (sadly) the last book in this long running series, Compound Fractures. The DA is out to get him; his business partner, Diane, shot his wife; his therapist has a crisis of conscience; and Alan doesn't even know if he can trust his best friend, Detective Sam Purdy.

It all began with a murder, committed by Sam (but staged as a suicide) in a previous episode. It was not done lightly and was the only way to keep their children safe from a killer. But Alan was complicit (and his car was used by Sam to drive to the scene) and so his future is equally at risk with Sam's. Matters came to a head in the previous episode, Line of Fire, in which Alan's business partner Diane had an emotional breakdown and inexplicably shot his wife Lauren. It happened just after she came to warn him that she was about to arrest Sam and Alan revealed his own role to her.

Alan and his children are still trying to come to terms with Lauren's death. He has sought help, yet deliberately chose an inexperienced therapist, Dr. Lila, who shares her perspectives on her patient with the reader. As Alan grows increasingly fearful and paranoid, we also see Sam and his partner Lucy find new evidence on an old case - of course we know this will have a bearing on what follows. As Alan struggles to understand what happened, shocking facts emerge about people very close to him. And it becomes very clear that Boulder DA Elliott has Alan in his sights and under surveillance.

When Dr. Lila asks Alan his goals for therapy, he sums it up succinctly: 'I want my life back, my wife back, my work back, my friends back. I want to stop writing big checks to big-time lawyers.' Soon his house is searched by the police and he's under suspicion of murder. But fortunately - and despite Alan's doubts of him - Sam still has his back. I found Compound Fractures totally gripping but am sorry to see the last of Dr. Alan Gregory; I'll miss this engaging protagonist.

2nd Review by Lyn Seippel (Rating: 2):

Clinical psychologist Alan Gregory and his children are grieving over the loss of his wife Lauren, who died from gunshot wounds inflicted by his partner Diane.

Interfering with Alan's grief is the constant worry that in her role as a Boulder District Attorney, Lauren may have had information about a murder that involved Alan and homicide detective Sam Purdy, which is now in the hands of Boulder's Chief Prosecutor Elliot. Things are about to get worse. Although there was no doubt that Lauren was shot by Diane, Elliot is preparing to charge Alan with that murder with the help of Diane's husband.

This novel includes many characters introduced in this long running series. LA Amy is back, although she didn't add much, if anything to the story. A former assassin dying from cancer offers Alan his services much like the Godfather might do. An attorney, who first met Alan while she was in a witness protection program is also there to offer help as a friend, but suggests he get another lawyer to defend him against any upcoming murder charges.

I have really enjoyed the Alan Gregory series. The last one is not my favorite. It was a frustrating read with Alan going back and forth on whether to trust his friend Sam Purdy. Instead of closure, the series ends with nothing solved, including whom Alan slept with in the last chapter.

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