Stephen White's assured and fast-moving Warning Signs delivers comprehensively on all counts. White has shown (in such books as Harm's Way and Higher Authority) that he's a stylish practitioner of the genre, even if some of his thrillers have been hit-or-miss. But not this one.
In a pool of blood and shattered pottery, the body of Royal Peterson, controversial district attorney for Boulder County, is discovered. To her dismay, crack homicide detective Lucy Tanner finds herself the prime suspect in a case that is already having massive political repercussions for a nervous city. As Lucy struggles to find out who has beaten Peterson to death (while his bedridden wife slept upstairs), clinical psychologist Alan Gregory is one of the few who finds it hard to accept that Lucy is responsible, and (along with his wife Lauren, prosecutor in the dead man's office), he decides to defend the beleaguered Lucy Tanner. The description "psychological thriller" is overused these days, and many authors have only the most tenuous grasp on the psychology of the characters. Not so Mr White, who delivers trenchant psychological portraits of all of his (very different) protagonists, notably the up-against-the-wall Lucy Tanner. But more than that singular virtue, the author is a master of the machine-tooled narrative, and Warning Signs refuses to relinquish its grip from hectic beginning to end. --Barry Forshaw