Book Review, Warning Signs by Stephen W. White

By MILT GROSS | Feb 10, 2013
Photo by: Milt Gross I’ve never been to Boulder or Denver, Colorado, but by reading this fast, suspenseful novel, Warning Signs, I caught glimpses of both cities and the surrounding mountainous terrain while trying to help the writer solve the who-dunnit.

A good mystery with little wrong in the writing.

I did half guess the ending, the who-done-it-part, but I wasn’t sure. The the pages leading to that ending did have me guessing.

This 2002 Delacorte Press, New York, New York publication is a solid modern mystery, based on today’s headlines of mixed-up idiots bombing buildings and people. It’s realistic enough that, were it not for the fact that I was holding a hardcover in my hands, I’d think it was a series of newspaper stories.

The only problem I found was that White constantly referred to the many characters by name only, and at times my forgettor took over so I had to either pause and ponder or glance back to see who was who.

Other than that it was great.

It contained a writing method I’m using in a two-thirds-through novel of my own, switching from third person to first person. If you’re not sure what I mean, third person is, “Tom, Dick, and Harry were the three murderous butlers.” First person is, “No, I was the one murderous butler.” The story occasionally switches back and forth between those two styles.

Some of the switches made me pause and actually think a bit to connect the new chapter with the story line.

But the story was good, solid, lots of action, some romance, some hinted-at-that-didn’t-happen romance, and some actual romance.

Psychologist Alan Gregory, his part of the adventure in the first person, becomes involved in an investigation of the Boulder County (Colorado) District Attorney’s murder by bludgoening with a pottery. The stories turns to following an angry youth, who bombs buildings and in this way murders people until he is shot and killed during the climax. The real tension in the climax is a trigger attached to the youth’s shoe sole set to explode and kill a key woman in the grisly tale.

Will the woman be saved from death by bombing? Read it to find out. I’ll never tell.

Another question to be solved by reading, is Gregory actually in love with his ailing wife or with Lucy, the woman who is or isn’t saved from death by bombing?

This book ads psychology to the solving of hideous crimes in a dramatic way.

A real reader-grabber in this mystery is that it takes place in a setting of which most readers are at least distantly familiar, Boulder Colorado. Streets, buildings, and other details of Boulder and nearby Denver keep those who know the area glued to the page.

I didn’t see a price on the book, which, I suppose, allows the bookseller to raise or reduce it as convenient or necessary.

The author is a clilnical psychologist with, at the time of the book’s publication, eight other novels to his credit. He, of course, lives in Denver, which certainly helps with the depiction of locations in the story.

I found my copy on our Toyota dealer’s book-exchange shelf.

If you want a good, fast, detail-included mystery with plenty of action, find your own copy and start reading over a cup of coffee -- or in front of the basically programless TV where I do much of my reading.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2013

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