In a riveting new novel of psychological suspense, Stephen White shines a brilliant light on the darkness that hides just beneath the surface of ordinary lives, on the fears that cripple us and the prisons we create --prisons of the body, mind, and spirit. A thriller of runaway tension, taps into our most closely guarded fears, taking us on a harrowing journey into a realm of terror and pain, of love gone wrong and vengeance gone mad.The Best evengePsychologist Alan Gregory is living through a season of discontent. With a new daughter, a wonderful wife, and a prospering career, he has little to complain about and lots of regrets: past cases that won't let him go, patients who don't get better, and a growing unease with keeping secrets. But Gregory has two new patients who will drag him out of his introspection--and dare him to enter a storm of injustice and revenge.
Tired of humdrum cases, Alan Gregory welcomes two new patients-FBI agent Kelda James and released death row inmate Tom Clone-in this latest thriller by White (The Program; Warning Signs; etc.) to feature the crime-solving clinical psychologist from Boulder, Colo. Referred to Dr. Gregory by a neurologist treating her for leg pain, Kelda is famous for saving a six-year-old kidnap victim. She also uncovers DNA evidence that overturns the murder conviction of former medical student Tom Clone after he spends 13 years behind bars. She picks Tom up at the prison, treats him to breakfast, drives him to his grandfather's house, pulls a gun on his arresting officers when they harass him and gives Tom her own shrink's number after his grandfather insists he try therapy. In fact, Kelda spends more time with Tom than with her boyfriend, Ira. Still, Tom quickly finds himself in trouble with the law. Two narratives-one Dr. Gregory's, the other Kelda's-come together as her story and Tom's reach a common climax in a mountain hideaway where Kelda, Tom, Ira, the harassing officers, Dr. Gregory and his good friend, Det. Sam Purdy, come together to solve an old crime and prevent a new one. Gregory's role in this novel is to listen to the protagonists and help the reader understand them. He also considers patient confidentiality and front-page news in rambling passages that slow but do not hamper the otherwise fast-paced plot. After a surprise twist, White provides amply plausible explanations for what seem like implausible actions, shedding light on human motivation with personal insights into the psychology of guilt, stress, fear and justice. Major ad/promo; simultaneous release as a Delacorte e-book. (Feb. 4) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from The Best Revenge by Stephen White
If Kelda James hadnýt been wearing inch-and-a-half heels and the toilet paper roll hadnýt been empty, Rosa Alija would probably be dead.
At about ten-twenty that morning Kelda had excused herself from her fellow FBI agents and followed directions to the restroomýdown the long hall, go left, last door on the right. The bathroom was a step up from what she had expected to find, given the tacky condition of the rest of the building. She was relieved to see that the sink was reasonably clean and the toilet seat wasnýt stained with yellow coins of urine. The only problem was that there was no toilet paper on the cardboard roll.
Kelda stepped back out into the hall to retrace her route and retrieve her shoulder bag and its stash of tissues, but noticed a closet marked ýUtilityý adjacent to the bathroom. The knob on the door wasnýt locked and she found herself staring into a space about six feet square. A window was mounted high on the wall, dividing the small room in half. A jumble of brooms and mops leaned against a cracked porcelain sink on one side; the opposite side was stacked with particleboard shelves piled high with what appeared to be a lifetime supply of paper towels, soap, disinfectants, and toilet paper. Kelda reached onto an upper shelf for a fresh roll of toilet tissue and reflexively glanced over the sill and out the window as she rotated back toward the door.
The window overlooked the alley behind the building. Across the alley was the back of a single-story light-industrial building not noticeably different from the one that Kelda and her FBI colleagues had just raided.
Except for the hand.
Kelda was sure that for a split second she had glimpsed a hand in a window of the building across the alley. In her mind she was already considering it to have been a tiny hand, a childýs hand.
She approached the utility closet window, stood on her toes, and peered again at the building across the alley. No hand. She raised her fingers to the sill to hold herself up and examined the distant window in detail. The bottom edge of the cloudy pane was streaked with parallel vertical lines that could have been made by fingers.