book cover of The Program
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The Program

(2001)
(The ninth book in the Dr. Alan Gregory series)
A novel by

 
 
Our Review
Trauma Within the Witness "Destruction" Program
The Program is Stephen White's ninth novel, and it offers a slight but effective departure from the main line of his career. Like his previous eight novels, The Program features White's recurring protagonist, clinical psychologist Alan Gregory. Unlike those earlier books, this one casts Gregory as a supporting player in a larger drama, a drama involving a woman on the run, an assortment of professional hit men, and the unnatural pressures of day-to-day life in the Witness Protection Program.

The woman on the run is Kirsten Lord, a New Orleans-based D.A. who successfully prosecutes a local drug dealer for a series of rapes, then finds herself threatened with violent reprisals. "Remember this," the dealer tells her on the day of his conviction. "Every precious thing I lose, you will lose two." Several weeks later, that grim prophecy begins to come true, as Kirsten's husband is shot to death. Shortly afterward, when an unknown woman nearly succeeds in abducting her daughter, Kirsten enters the Witness Security Program (WITSEC) and attempts to establish a new, anonymous existence in Boulder, Colorado.

White excels at conveying the tension, trauma, and sense of dislocation inherent in shedding the remnants of an old life and beginning a new one. Kirsten Lord (now Peyton Francis) finds herself facing a particularly complex set of circumstances. To begin with, her previous history as an outspoken critic of WITSEC's policies has earned her a number of enemies within the program itself. In addition, her belated efforts to halt the execution of an innocent man -- a man she helped convict -- make her the target of a vicious killer with an undisclosed agenda of his own. Throughout all this, the initial threat that drove her into hiding remains in force, looming relentlessly over the narrative.

The Program recounts, with considerable authority, one woman's struggle to make her way through this minefield of possibilities to a place of potential safety. Along the way, she finds a number of unexpected allies, including Alan Gregory, her program-appointed therapist; Lauren Crowder, Alan's very pregnant wife; and Carl Luppo, a retired Mafia hit man who takes Kirsten under his wing and saves her life on more than one occasion. White handles these various elements with an easy, understated mastery and treats his heroine's dilemma with intelligence, humor, and sympathy. The result is an incisive, psychologically acute thriller that successfully illuminates a little-known corner of the criminal justice system. It clearly represents a large step forward for a gifted, underrated writer.

--Bill Sheehan

Genre: Mystery

Praise for this book

"A page-turner!" - Iris Johansen


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Used availability for Stephen White's The Program

Hardback Editions

August 2001 : USA Hardback
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Title: The Program (Basic)
Author(s): Stephen Walsh White
ISBN: 0-7862-3411-3 / 978-0-7862-3411-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Availability: Amazon UK   


February 2001 : USA Hardback
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Title: The Program
Author(s): Stephen White
ISBN: 0-385-49903-5 / 978-0-385-49903-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Doubleday
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

August 2002 : USA Paperback
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Title: The Program
Author(s): Stephen White
ISBN: 0-7862-3412-1 / 978-0-7862-3412-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Thorndike Pr
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


January 1920 : USA Mass Market Paperback
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Title: The Program (Alan Gregory)
Author(s): Stephen White
ISBN: 0-440-23726-2 / 978-0-440-23726-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Dell
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Audio Editions

August 2015 : USA MP3 CD
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Title: Program, The (Alan Gregory Series)
Author(s): Stephen White
ISBN: 1-5012-8293-X / 978-1-5012-8293-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 2013 : USA Audio CD
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Title: The Program (Alan Gregory Series)
Author(s): Stephen White
ISBN: 1-4805-6286-6 / 978-1-4805-6286-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 2013 : USA MP3 CD
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Title: The Program (Alan Gregory Series)
Author(s): Stephen White
ISBN: 1-4805-6287-4 / 978-1-4805-6287-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


June 2010 : USA Audio CD
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Title: The Program (Alan Gregory Series)
Author(s): Stephen White
ISBN: 1-4418-4023-0 / 978-1-4418-4023-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


June 2010 : USA Audio CD
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Title: The Program (Alan Gregory Series)
Author(s): Stephen White
ISBN: 1-4418-4024-9 / 978-1-4418-4024-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


June 2010 : USA Audio CD
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Title: The Program (Alan Gregory)
Author(s): Stephen White
ISBN: 1-4418-6691-4 / 978-1-4418-6691-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 2005 : USA MP3 CD
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Title: The Program (Alan Gregory Series)
Author(s): Stephen White
ISBN: 1-59600-764-8 / 978-1-59600-764-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 2008 : USA Audio edition
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Title: The Program
Author(s): Stephen White
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   


September 2005 : USA MP3 CD
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Title: The Program (Alan Gregory Series)
Author(s): Stephen White
ISBN: 1-59600-765-6 / 978-1-59600-765-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


January 2002 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: The Program (Alan Gregory Series)
Author(s): Stephen White
ISBN: 1-58788-656-1 / 978-1-58788-656-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


March 2001 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: The Program
Author(s): Stephen White
ISBN: 1-58788-357-0 / 978-1-58788-357-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


March 2001 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: The Program
Author(s): Stephen White
ISBN: 1-58788-358-9 / 978-1-58788-358-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


March 2001 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: The Program
Author(s): Stephen White
ISBN: 1-58788-359-7 / 978-1-58788-359-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   


Kindle Editions

December 2008 : USA, Australia, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: The Program (Dr. Alan Gregory Novels Book 9)
Author(s): Stephen White
Publisher: Dell
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU