Monday, August 20, 2012

Group Review: Let the Devil Sleep

Summary:  The most decorated homicide detective in NYPD history, Dave Gurney is still trying to adjust to his life of quasi-retirement in upstate New York when a young woman who is producing a documentary on a notorious murder spree seeks his counsel. Soon after, Gurney begins feeling threatened: a razor-sharp hunting arrow lands in his yard, and he narrowly escapes serious injury in a booby-trapped basement. As things grow more bizarre, he finds himself reexamining the case of The Good Shepherd, which ten years before involved a series of roadside shootings and a rage-against-the-rich manifesto. The killings ceased, and a cult of analysis grew up around the case with a consensus opinion that no one would dream of challenging -- no one, that is, but Dave Gurney.

Mocked even by some who’d been his supporters in previous investigations, Dave realizes that the killer is too clever to ever be found. The only gambit that may make sense is also the most dangerous – to make himself a target and get the killer to come to him.

To survive, Gurney must rely on three allies: his beloved wife Madeleine, impressively intuitive and a beacon of light in the gathering darkness; his de-facto investigative “partner” Jack Hardwick, always ready to spit in authority’s face but wily when it counts; and his son Kyle, who has come back into Gurney’s life with surprising force, love and loyalty. ~blurb

Jenn's Review:  John Verdon continues to amaze me.  Let the Devil Sleep is the third book in the Dave Gurney series, and it is just as spellbinding as the first two.

Dave Gurney is a little out of control, which is something we've never really seen before.  He's angry and he has a new appreciation for for the fragility of life, which you might think would be hard to come by for a retired homicide detective.  Thankfully, fate steps in in the form of an old friend who brings him a case to consult ~actually, it isn't even a case, it's an expose on children and family members of the victims of a serial killer.

Of course, Dave can't help but look into the case and when the inconsistencies start to pile up, he starts swinging tree limbs at the hornet nest of the FBI lead investigator.  Dave even takes a chunk out of a former colleague with whom he used to get on well.  If anything, Detective Gurney's last case has made him edgier and a little reckless, and while I can understand that, it was also quite shocking because he is normally so even keel.

I was glad to see Madeline taking a more supportive role, but I think after all that's happened, she has finally learned that Dave Gurney is a detective who's mind needs a keen puzzle to focus on.  It was also nice to finally meet Gurney's son, Kyle.  I was a little amazed by how much he idolized his father, many kids with an absent father grow up resenting him, but not Kyle.  I'm not sure how I feel about Kim... her naivete was a little odd and she seems a little, somehow.  And here I am discussing fictional character's as real people again, a hallmark of being completely wrapped up in a book.

I had no doubt Dave would get to the bottom of this 10 year old cold case, but I had no idea who the culprit was... I fell for a red herring early on, and though my convictions were shaken a few times, I kept returning to my theory, which was, of course wrong.  There are some storylines with which I would have liked a little more closure, but overall it was fabulous.  I love that John Verdon can bury a case in so many layers that it makes your head spin.

This is one of those series where I will happily loose myself in each novel.  I think Mr. Verdon is a brilliant suspense novelist, and I look forward to Dave Gurney's next great adventure.

Final Take: 4.75/5

Julie's Review: I realize that you don't have to read these books in order because the thriller aspects aren't related but I do think to understand Dave you need to read them in order. I can say this because I still have to read Shut Your Eyes Tight. It didn't impact my enjoyment of Let the Devil Sleep but I kept wondering what happened to Dave during his last investigation.

Regardless, if you aren't reading John Verdon, you need to be. His writing is taut, detailed and enthralling. He never fails to amaze me with his ability to keep me guessing until the very end of the novel. I always have a theory and then I change it at least 5x during the course of the novel. I also try not to read his books right before bed because they do give me slight nightmares. When is the last time you can say that about a novel?

Retired Detective Dave Gurney is probably one of my favorite policeman characters along with Harry Bosch and Detective Carl Morck. He's extremely intelligent and being a detective suited him well. He is extremely good at figuring out puzzles and this is where he comes in to the The Good Shepherd case. Something doesn't sit right with him as he studies the case file from 10 years prior. He believes that the people in charge got it wrong from the beginning and this causes a storm for him. You really shouldn't question the FBI and their conclusions, it tends to piss them off.

I love his relationship with his wife Madeleine. In my eyes, she does put up with a lot but she did marry a detective and I'm assuming that never leaves you. She's very patient and she often has a different angle on things that helps Dave with cases. I also enjoyed getting to know his son, Kyle. Although, I will admit his sudden appearance made me suspect him but sometimes it's not related.

My only compliant is that at times I felt the booked moved slowly but perhaps it was my impatience of wanting the climax of the book though. It wasn't the pace because his books are well paced but more like there were things that could have been edited out to make the book a bit more smooth.

Mr. Verdon does an excellent job throwing a ton of red herrings your way in his novels. It's one of those things that makes him a superb author. I can't recommend his books highly enough. I'm thankful that Jenn introduced me to him because he will be an author I read for years to come. Believe me I will be reading Shut Your Eyes Tight very soon.

Final Take: 4.5/5

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Crown Publishing for both of our review copies.

John Verdon’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Tuesday, July 24th:  Wordsmithonia
Wednesday, July 25th:  Jenny Loves to Read
Thursday, July 26th:  Jen’s Book Thoughts
Monday, July 30th:  A Bookworm’s World
Tuesday, July 31st:  Sara’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, August 1st:  Life in Review
Thursday, August 2nd:  Colloquium
Monday, August 6th:  Booklover Book Reviews
Tuesday, August 7th:  Stacy’s Books
Wednesday, August 8th:  Book Addict Katie
Thursday, August 9th:  House of Crime and Mystery
Monday, August 13th:  Crime Fiction Lover
Tuesday, August 14th:  A Novel Source
Wednesday, August 15th:  Book Reviews by Elizabeth A. White
Thursday, August 16th:  Bewitched Bookworms
Monday, August 20th:  Girls Just Reading
Wednesday, August 22nd:  Thoughts of Joy
Monday, August 27th:  Musings of a Bookish Kitty



Unknown August 20, 2012 at 1:02 PM  

I've been wondering what this book was about. Your reviews are the first I've read Jenn and Julie and you've convinced me I need to read this series by John Verdon. I'd like to red this book without having to read the 2 prior books but I understamnd when Julie said in her review that the first 2 books are pretty vital in order to fully understand and know Dave Gurney.
I most enjoy criminal investigation books when the lead detective isn't a straight arrow so Dave Gurney sounds like a man I'd like to read about. I also love that he was a part of NYPD.

I completely and totally enjoyed both reviews. And will now add this series to my tbr list.
Thank you Jenn and Julie!

Julie August 20, 2012 at 6:46 PM  

I'm so thrilled that we convinced you to read this author. I am certain you won't be disappointed.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours August 26, 2012 at 11:29 AM  

I love getting two perspectives in one review!

Thanks for being on the tour.

Anonymous ,  August 31, 2012 at 11:10 PM  

I loved this one (actually all 3) too. I love that you both mentiont Madeleine because one of the reasons I liked the first one so much is the realtionship between the two of them. It's an awesome series.

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