Summary and book reviews of Dry Ice by Stephen White

Dry Ice

A Novel

By Stephen White

Dry Ice
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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Mar 2007,
    416 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2008,
    528 pages.

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Book Summary

It has been years since the mayhem was unleashed in Privileged Information. Now Michael McClelland, the brilliant, determined killer introduced in White’s first novel, has left the Colorado State Mental Hospital—and he’s coming after Alan Gregory’s family. The timing couldn’t be deadlier; like a cornered animal, Alan is in a deeply vulnerable state, facing severe doubts about his professional life, his marriage, and his own psyche. And McClelland holds the most powerful weapons of all: secrets from Alan’s past. Secrets Alan thought he had successfully buried years ago. Secrets not even his wife knows. Time is running out as Alan scrambles to outwit his nemesis while confronting each of his worst nightmares. His becomes a captivating psychological journey into the events that forever change us, and the relentless drumbeat of the past. Faithful readers of the series and newcomers alike will be mesmerized by this searing view into the revered doctor’s heart—with a haunting conclusion that will secure Dry Ice’s place as the most memorable of White’s novels.

Prologue

The sky above the mountains was stained with the last pastels of a mediocre sunset.

Headlights approached from the east.

Cruz climbed from the raw dirt to the bucket, jumped from the bucket up to the ground, killed the diesel, and prepared to meet the maintenance supervisor halfway between the fresh grave and the truck.

The work was running late.

The Ford rolled to a stop on the crushed granite with its brights aimed directly at the grave. Ramirez stepped down from the pickup's cab and marched toward the hole. Crazy shadows bent every which way as the beams from the truck and the wash from the floods above the excavator competed to obliterate the creeping darkness.

One at a time, Ramirez rubbed the tops of his cowboy boots on the calves of his jeans. Not content with the results, he polished the leather on one boot a second time before he tucked his right hand into the pocket of his down vest, turned his head, and spit. Ramirez kept his boots shinier than a new ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. What are some examples of the secrets the characters in Dry Ice keep from one another? What purpose do these secrets serve in the novel?

  2. Is it significant that the book’s first scene is that of a cemetery worker digging a grave?

  3. When Sam Purdy comes to Alan’s office to seal it off as a crime scene, Alan invites him in, against his better judgment. Was Sam trying to take advantage if his friendship with Alan? What would you have done in this situation?

  4. In Chapter 15, Alan muses, “Secrets usually aren’t as important as our motivation for keeping them.” What was his motivation for keeping his own secrets? Do you think he was right to hide his past, especially from his wife?

  5. What was Michael McClelland&#...
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Reviews

BookBrowse

If you've dropped into this series from time to time, this would be a good time to take another dip as this is one of White's best reviewed books in years. A couple of reviewers caution newcomers from starting with Dry Ice due to the many references to past events and secondary characters. As a general rule I find such concerns a little overrated. Of course, when dropping into an established series there will be plotlines that are unfamiliar and character development that the reader will be unaware of (or at least there certainly should be if a series is worth its salt!) but that rarely means that the reader can't appreciate the novel in its own right - just as a visitor to a country will have a more superficial understanding of its mores than a resident, but that doesn't prevent the visitor from enjoying his stay!. In fact, there are a number of series where I'm convinced my appreciation has been greater by reading it it out of sequence, because I've been able to get to know the characters and then go back in time to discover what made them who they are. Just like in life, there are some friends you grow up with with whom there are few secrets, and others you meet as adults and, overtime, discover what makes them tick.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Media Reviews
Entertainment Weekly - Will Boisvert

White's latest Gregory yarn makes evil subtly realistic; the quiet threat to our hero's marriage and career is as gripping as any physical menace.

The Daily Camera - Sue Deans

"Dr. Alan Gregory is in a dark place. Frankly, the fictional Boulder psychologist is a mess. That alone makes Dry Ice, Stephen White's latest psychological thriller, even edgier than the ones that came before. .....White considers his books psychological thrillers, but each has a puzzle imbedded in it that makes it also a mystery.The thriller quotient of Dry Ice is high. Twists in the puzzle are sometimes complex enough that the reader needs to leaf backward to refresh a memory.

Mystery News - Lynn Kaczmarek

I've always had a special place in my heart for believable characters, those who exhibit both good and bad traits, just like normal people. We are all so incredibly complex and I find it exhilarating when I find this same complexity realistically portrayed in fictional characters. Stephen White has always been an expert in this area and Dry Ice is the penultimate example of his shrewd understanding of people and his incredible talent for getting that on the page.

Booklist - Mary Frances Wilkens

White's thrillers throw the characters into quagmires and then force them to wade through the psychological muck. Along the way, there's always more than enough suspense to keep readers engaged.

Library Journal

Tight storytelling style with a psychologist's eye, offering up plenty of twists. One caveat—readers new to the Alan Gregory novels may find themselves confused or distracted by the many references to past events, secondary characters, and parallel plot lines.

Kirkus Review

It would be unfair to reveal any of the surprises White detonates down the road with all the craft and patience of a suicide bomber. In a masterful stroke, he even manages to wring additional shock and suspense out of McClelland's surrender to the authorities. Not even an anticlimactic ending can wreck Alan's 15th, and finest, case.

Publisher's Weekly

Starred Review. Contemporary cerebral thrillers don't get much better than bestseller White's 15th novel (after Kill Me), which deftly combines complex characterization and intricate plotting.

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Beyond the Book

Stephen White grew up in New York, New Jersey, and Southern California and attended the University of California at Irvine (where he lasted three weeks as a creative writing major) and Los Angeles, before graduating from Berkeley in 1972. Along the way he learned to fly small planes, worked as a tour guide at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, cooked, waited tables and tended bar.

Trained as a clinical psychologist, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in 1979 and became ...

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