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Reading guide for Dry Ice by Stephen White

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Dry Ice

A Novel

by Stephen White

Dry Ice
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2007, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2008, 528 pages

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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

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’s motivation for constructing this elaborate revenge against Alan, Lauren, and Sam?

  6. In many instances during Dry Ice, things are decidedly not what they appear to be. Name some examples of “illusions” in the book and how different characters were misled by them.

  7. What was your first impression of Sam? Did it change as you read Dry Ice?

  8. Did you believe that Nicole Cruz’s death was a suicide, or did you think it was murder? If the latter, what were some clues?

  9. Discuss Kirsten Lord and her relationship with Alan, prior to becoming his lawyer. Do you think she was the appropriate person to act as his attorney? Why or why not?

  10. What did you think of Lauren’s bombshell revelation in Chapter 57 Do you think her secret is what caused her to be so closed off to her husband? Why didn’t she reveal it sooner?

  11. Did you suspect that Sam was involved in the death of Currie/J. Winter Brown?

  12. “To chemists, sublimation is the process by which matter changes from a solid state to a vapor without first melting. ‘Think dry ice,’ she’d said.” [page 212] What does the book’s title mean, in this context?

  13. Consider how many characters in Dry Ice have multiple identities. What role does this type of deception play in the novel?

  14. Is Lauren’s illness—multiple sclerosis—a metaphor for something else in the book?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Signet Classics. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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