Friday, January 20, 2012

Julie's Review: Think of a Number

Summary: Arriving in the mail one day is a taunting letter that ends with a simple declaration "See how well I know your secrets-just think of a number." Eerily,the letter writer has predicted their random choice exactly. For Dave Gurney, just retired as the NYPD's top homicide investigator and forging a new life with his wife, Madeleine, in upstate New York, the letters are oddities that begin as a diverting puzzle but quickly ignite a massive serial-murder investigation. Brought in as an investigative "consultant," Gurney soon accomplishes deductive breakthroughs that have local police in awe. Yet, with each taunting move by his seemingly clairvoyant opponent, Gurney feels his tragedy-marred past rising up to haunt him, his marriage approaching a dangerous precipice, and, finally, a dark, cold fear building that he's met an adversary who can't be stopped. ~product description

Review: Think of a Number is a taut, well-written thriller that has you enthralled from the beginning pages of the novel. Dave Gurney is an interesting and multi-layered character, who has a way of putting complex crime puzzles together and solving them. He's retired now but he's brought back into this mystery by an old college acquaintance who has been getting strange letters that seem to know what he's thinking. Along with this are poems that are not blatantly threatening but have an underlying menacing tone to them.

Like Dave and Mark Mellery, I was sucked in by the poems, the seemingly randomness of the poems that don't quite say anything but say enough to have the intended victim freaking out wondering what they've done wrong and how this person knows. The perpetrator is playing mind games with their intended victim. Very quickly the mind games become a crime of murder. At the crime scene there are strange clues/evidence that does not make any sense. These are the pieces that confound Gurney. Quickly, things start moving right along and more people are targeted.

The book moves at a quick pace but for this thriller you really do need to read every single word. This is a complex, multi-layered mystery that has you trying to figure it out along with Gurney and the police departments he comes to work with.

By the end of the book, I felt that Gurney should have figured out the perpetrator a lot sooner. Looking back on the novel, I can see the clues that were laid out by Mr. Verdon. I think when I finished the book, I hit my hand to my head and said "DOH"!

I really enjoyed the way Mr. Verdon wrote the book and created Dave Gurney. What amazes me is the amount of knowledge he has about police work and crime scenes, since he's not a retired cop himself.

I will definitely be finding time at some point to read the second Dave Gurney novel, Shut Your Eyes Tight .

Final Take: 4/5

 Here is Jenn's review


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