Shades of Gray

Barry Siegel, Author
Barry Siegel, Author Bantam Books $21.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-08115-2
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A populist federal judge who fought for the women victimized by the Dalkon Shield, a specialist in echocardiography (a fetal detective, so to speak), the killers of six helpless citizens and a highly intelligent young farmer who survived the cycle of boom and bust in the 1980s--these hardly qualify as the subtitle's ``ordinary people,'' but their stories certainly make fascinating reading in this collection of pieces that originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times. Given carte blanche to find good stories, roving reporter Siegel ( A Death in White Bear Lake ) covers subjects including murder, suicide, accusations of child molestation, gene alteration in children and the agonizing need to weigh the value of human lives against the cost of saving them. The last selection, showing human beings powerless against the forces of nature, provides a rousing climax. (Feb.)
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