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Denver Writer Plots Best-Selling Thrillers

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(credit: CBS4)

(credit: CBS4)

One of the world’s most popular thriller writers lives in Denver. In fact, Stephen White may have Colorado to thank for part of his success. Most of White’s books are set in the state, and White loves to create pivotal scenes around Colorado landmarks. 

He considers the state one of his main characters. White said it’s as colorful and compelling as any player he could imagine.

“I’m often eager to choose locations that I don’t have to make up and the Colorado locations provide a wonderful opportunity to do that, especially obscure ones,” said White. “Like, people along the Front Range are familiar with Gold Hill. But, when I set a major scene there, national readers have no idea what it is and assume I made it up, that a town like that couldn’t exist within an hour of a metro area.”

His newest book, “Dead Time” was released last month. Like most of his other psychological thrillers, it is anchored in Colorado, though it also takes readers to New York and California. White’s Colorado readers recognize the familiar in his books, while fans the world over discover something new and intriguing.

“People come and visit things I’ve written about in the book and look for things the characters have done in the book,” White said.

Readers might glimpse protagonist Alan Gregory’s view of the Flatirons or follow drama in the automated baggage system at Denver International Airport.

“I wrote a book that had a pivotal scene in the old baggage system of DIA and I just asked if I could get a tour and I spent about half a day seeing this crazy system in the bowels of DIA,” said White.

White currently makes his home in Denver. He moved to Boulder in the 1970s to attend graduate school at the University of Colorado. He built his psychology practice in Boulder.

One day in the late 80s, he decided to test his new computer by writing a story and a book was born.

“I try to have fun with the people of Boulder. I stumbled upon using Boulder as the primary setting for the books primarily by accident. Part of it was a recognition on my part that Boulder’s the kind of town you can’t really make up.”

White spent 15 years in Boulder. It’s also where atypical hero Alan gregory lives. Both White and his lead character are also clinical psychologists. But White says the similarities end there.

“The reality is, if my life were anything like this guy’s, I would have run from it long ago,” White said.

“Dead Time” is the 16th in the Alan Gregory series, which includes “Kill Me”, “Dry Ice”, “Harm’s Way”, “Remote Control”, and other bestsellers.

White said he does have an ending in mind for the series. “I hope at some point I get to write the last book. So, we’ll see,” he said. From Colorado and beyond, mystery fans can’t wait to see where White takes them next.

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