Think of a Number – John Verdon

Dave Gurney is a retired NYPD homicide detective of some fame for his serial killer catching exploits. He is enjoying a quiet life in rural upstate New York, when a former college acquaintance – certainly not a friend – contacts him out of the blue, and presents him with the troubling puzzle of some strange communications. Gurney is intrigued, and although his wife is less than keen that he gets involved, there’s an itch that needs to be scratched. As matters progress, Gurney tells the man to go to the police, and leaves him to his fate.

You can probably guess what happens next, the effect being that Gurney is a person of interest to the police. And they also recognize he could be the man they need to deal with the rapidly developing situation. Gurney steps up to the plate, and the action and mystery heat up and come to a boil.

One key part of the mystery is that the killer appears to know his victims’ darkest secrets. How? Of course, all is not what it seems.

It begins with a letter…The letter contains a request – think of a number, any number – and a sealed envelope. Inside the envelope is that number.

Fascinating. There is some really clever stuff in this book. It’s not a well written piece in the sense that it is outstanding literature, but it’s a well told, well paced, suspenseful crime novel. Gurney’s character has some loose ends that give the author some leverage for future outings, no doubt, but he neither comes across as a ‘defective detective’ nor a superhero. In short, he’s believable, credible, and a well rounded, interesting character. All in all, a pretty good piece of entertainment. However, you can safely ignore some of the hyped up quotations; it’s good, and shows promise, but it is not great. On the other hand, ┬áif the author develops his writing skill, he could be one to follow.

Score: 7/10.

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