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Blinded    by Stephen White order for
by Stephen White
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2005 (2003)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though this is the first of Stephen White's novels that I've read, I'll be looking for more. His powerful use of imagery pulls in the reader from the first sentences. 'Every cop knows the taste and the odor that assault the senses when tenderness collides with evil. It's a baby coddled in a bassinet in a fume-filled meth shack ...' That opening sure woke me up to the fact that this author deserved my full attention.

The story and characters did not let me down either. Psychologist Alan Gregory is married to Lauren, a deputy DA who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Alan sits up and takes notice when his patient, Gibbs Sterling, nicknamed 'Dancing Queen' by Alan's colleague Diane, tells him she thinks her husband murdered a friend in Laguna Beach. She asks him to inform the police on her behalf, and eventually reveals that she believes there have been multiple murders of young women.

At the same time as he copes with these revelations, and the restrictions placed by his profession on what he can and cannot tell the cops, Alan is also dealing with the demands of his wife Lauren's illness, the needs of their baby girl Grace, and repercussions when a heart attack strikes his best friend Sam, a homicide detective. When Sam's wife leaves him, the detective develops a fascination for Gibbs' situation, wondering what keeps her faithful to an abusive husband, whom she believes to be a serial killer.

The tale evolves, alternating between Alan's and Sam's point of views, with quite a few surprises, a depth of psychological insight, interesting sub-plots, and all kinds of intriguing minor characters. Though I did guess the ending, it was hard to be sure, and the vivid writing kept me turning pages till I found out. Don't miss Blinded.

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