White’s tricky plotting weaves a tangled web of deceit in this 18th Alan Gregory thriller. Boulder clinical psychologist Alan Gregory is mentoring therapist Hella, who has grave concerns about her patient. The patient in question had attended a housewarming party and stayed the night since she had too much to drink. Upon waking, she realized she couldn’t remember much from the previous evening, but was convinced she was raped by an acquittance.
Although he can’t admit it, Alan is fully aware that the rape took place across the street at the house of his new neighbors who are none other than a famous attorney who just happens to be an advocate for women’s issues and his wife. Both Alan’s wife Lauren, the deputy DA, and police officer and long-time friend Scott refuse to talk about it or even confirm that a crime took place.
But clearly something very, very wrong happened at that house the night of the party that makes Alan concerned for the safety of his own family, which now includes Jonas, the son of his deceased best friends. As he learns more about the accuser through Hella, he finds himself at the center of a crime that he must unravel before any one else is hurt and his little paradise in the Spanish Hills is threatened.
Some readers might get impatient with the huge chunk of time White devotes to the Kobe Bryant case in the middle of the novel, which at first glance seems somewhat irrelevant. However, those who stick it out will discover how it all ties in and that it was worth the wait. The intensity near the end more than makes up for it.