|Stephen White: The Program|
Publishing (Paperback), ISBN 0440237262
In the first six pages, Robert Lord dies in a brutal street shooting, victim of an assassination carried out on the orders of Ernesto Castro, an incarcerated drug lord. Kirsten Lord, Robert's wife, put Castro behind bars. As Kirsten watches her husband die, the words Ernesto spoke to her during his sentencing run through her head: "Remember this: Every precious thing I lose, you will lose two."
Realizing the danger Ernesto presents to everyone she loves, Kirsten and her daughter go into hiding, first on their own, and finally under the care of the Witness Security Program. Assigned the names of Peyton and Landon Francis, respectively, the two begin a new life in Boulder, Colo.
Enter Alan Gregory, a psychologist doing a favor for a pregnant colleague. Peyton, not entirely trusting of the people in the Witness Security program because of some damaging testimony she gave during an inquiry into their practices, pours out her fear and doubts to Dr. Gregory.
As Peyton and Landon struggle to begin a new life, White introduces us to an expert using high tech equipment to scan the country trying to locate them. As Peyton feared, the program can't deliver on the security it promised. The bad guys locate her all too soon. If not for an unlikely friendship with Dr. Gregory's other patient in Witness Security, Carl Luppo, an ex-wise guy in La Cosa Nostra, Peyton and Landon would certainly be dead.
White's professional experience comes through in all the characters. He thoroughly explores their motivations and thoughts. As Alan Gregory struggles to counsel two people in such unique positions, White lets us into the head of a psychologist. Knowing when to gently nudge a patient and when to just be silent and let them find their own way constitute the art of the profession of psychology as shown by White.
Ceridwen S. Lewin
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