cover image THE BEST REVENGE


Stephen White, . . Delacorte, $24.95 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-385-33619-2

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)