Reader’s Guide

Dry Ice

Dry Ice

Written by:


New York Times bestselling author Stephen White brings back his popular character, psychologist Alan Gregory, to take on the sociopathic killer from White’s first novel—who, many years later, has walked away from a mental hospital, hungry for revenge.

It has been years since the mayhem was unleashed in Privileged Information. Now Michael McClelland, the brilliant, determined killer introduced in White’s first novel, has left the Colorado State Mental Hospital—and he’s coming after Alan Gregory’s family. The timing couldn’t be deadlier; like a cornered animal, Alan is in a deeply vulnerable state, facing severe doubts about his professional life, his marriage, and his own psyche. And McClelland holds the most powerful weapons of all: secrets from Alan’s past. Secrets Alan thought he had successfully buried years ago. Secrets not even his wife knows. Time is running out as Alan scrambles to outwit his nemesis while confronting each of his worst nightmares. His becomes a captivating psychological journey into the events that forever change us, and the relentless drumbeat of the past. Faithful readers of the series and newcomers alike will be mesmerized by this searing view into the revered doctor’s heart—with a haunting conclusion that will secure Dry Ice’s place as the most memorable of White’s novels.



Stephen White is a clinical psychologist and New York Times bestselling author of thirteen previous novels, including The Best Revenge and Missing Persons.


  • What are some examples of the secrets the characters in Dry Ice keep from one another? What purpose do these secrets serve in the novel?
  • Is it significant that the book’s first scene is that of a cemetery worker digging a grave?
  • Discuss Alan and Laura’s marriage. What is at the root of the strain between them?
  • When Sam Purdy comes to Alan’s office to seal it off as a crime scene, Alan invites him in, against his better judgment. Was Sam trying to take advantage if his friendship with Alan? What would you have done in this situation?
  • In Chapter 15, Alan muses, “Secrets usually aren’t as important as our motivation for keeping them.” What was his motivation for keeping his own secrets? Do you think he was right to hide his past, especially from his wife?
  • What was Michael McClelland’s motivation for constructing this elaborate revenge against Alan, Lauren, and Sam?
  • In many instances during Dry Ice, things are decidedly not what they appear to be. Name some examples of “illusions” in the book and how different characters were misled by them.
  • What was your first impression of Sam? Did it change as you read Dry Ice?
  • Did you believe that Nicole Cruz’s death was a suicide, or did you think it was murder? If the latter, what were some clues?
  • Discuss Kirsten Lord and her relationship with Alan, prior to becoming his lawyer. Do you think she was the appropriate person to act as his attorney? Why or why not?
  • What did you think of Lauren’s bombshell revelation in Chapter 57 Do you think her secret is what caused her to be so closed off to her husband? Why didn’t she reveal it sooner?
  • Did you suspect that Sam was involved in the death of Currie/J. Winter Brown?
  • “To chemists, sublimation is the process by which matter changes from a solid state to a vapor without first melting. ‘Think dry ice,’ she’d said.” [page 212] What does the book’s title mean, in this context?
  • Consider how many characters in Dry Ice have multiple identities. What role does this type of deception play in the novel?
  • Is Lauren’s illness—multiple sclerosis—a metaphor for something else in the book?
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