Synopses & Reviews
An] inventive and entertaining first thriller. The hard-edged characters and gritty plot recall Chandler's mean streets, but the ornate puzzles laid before Verdon's detective might have challenged the little grey cells of Hercule Poirot.--Washington Post
Mr. Verdon was an advertising executive who retired to upstate New York before deciding on a more artistic pursuit. And if THINK OF A NUMBER is any indication, he'll have no trouble forgetting about that day job. The transition couldn't be much smoother...Verdon is masterly at keeping Gurney his protagonist] a step ahead of the reader and] the murder itself is a pretty crafty piece of legerdemain.... The novel features] the kind of head-scratching setup that would get Sherlock Holmes off his cocaine and] Gurney has the same precision, logic and thirst for clarity.--New York Times
Verdon’s deftly written, erudite debut is an exquisitely plotted novel of suspense.
Mostly what makes this work is the intricate fabric that debut novelist Verdon weaves, as complications twist into what seems to be an impossible knot.--Chicago Sun-Times
Good writing and good storytelling often aren’t the same thing. Verdon combines them masterfully...Here’s hoping Verdon has what it takes to churn out more books like this.--Newark Star Ledger
“Verdon’s brought back crimes of impossibility, starting with the titular parlor game trifle and escalating until we're deep into serial murder territory. Verdon is a master at controlling pace, illustrating the story of a rich but complicated marriage, pondering what it means to be sucked back into your life's work even if it might kill you, and demanding that the reader use his or her brain to figure out what comes next. When you're finished, you may not trust silly parlor games ever again.”--Salon
“Savor the sense of loss that haunts this strong debut.”--Houston Chronicle
“John Verdon has…created an incredible crime novel which could give Steig Larsson a run for his well-earned money…All of the characters are incredibly well developed…The descriptions of scenes make you feel like you are there, and the plot is brilliant.”--The Herald-Dispatch (West Virginia)
“Will hook just about any reader…An astoundingly addictive work filled with real life characters that jump off the page into a daring and skillful plot, this book will leave you stumped and hungry for more…THINK OF A NUMBER excels in its interweaving of wonderful characterization and psychological Insight… Verdon] has created a book for all readers, not just those who revel in the thriller genre.”– New York Journal of Books
“The mystery is brilliantly executed…If you read only one thriller this year, make it THINK OF A NUMBER.”-- Bookloons
“Think of a number between one and ten…Now multiply that by zero. Which is how many times you’ll put this book down.” --Mystery Scene
The numbers game gets a murderous spin in Verdon’s deft, literate debut.--Publishers Weekly
Verdon’s superb debut novel is a riveting thriller with a wonderful
"Verdon's superb debut novel is a riveting thriller with a wonderfully baffling crime....Think of a Number is a 10, and crime fans of almost every persuasion will love it." Booklist (starred review)
An extraordinary fiction debut, Think of a Number
is an exquisitely plotted novel of suspense that grows relentlessly darker and more frightening as its pace accelerates, forcing its deeply troubled characters to moments of startling self-revelation.
Arriving in the mail over a period of weeks are taunting letters that end with a simple declaration: Think of any number...picture it...now see how well I know your secrets. Amazingly, those who comply find that 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.
What police are confronted with is a completely baffling killer, one who is fond of rhymes filled with threats and warnings, whose attention to detail is unprecedented, and who has an uncanny knack for disappearing into thin air. Even more disturbing, the scale of his ambition seems to widen as events unfold.
Brought in as an investigative consultant, Dave Gurney soon accomplishes deductive breakthroughs that leave local police in awe. Yet, even as he matches wits with his seemingly clairvoyant opponent, Gurney's tragedy-marred past rises up to haunt him, his marriage approaches a dangerous precipice, and finally, a dark, cold fear builds that he's met an adversary who can't be stopped.
In the end, fighting to keep his bearings amid a whirlwind of menace and destruction, Gurney sees the truth of what he's become — what we all become when guilty memories fester — and how his wife Madeleine's clear-eyed advice may be the only answer that makes sense.
A work that defies easy labels — at once a propulsive masterpiece of suspense and an absorbing immersion in the lives of characters so real we seem to hear their heartbeats — Think of a Number is a novel you'll not soon forget.
An extraordinary fiction debut, Think of a Number is an exquisitely plotted novel of suspense that grows relentlessly darker and more frightening as its pace accelerates, forcing its deeply troubled characters to moments of startling self-revelation.
Recently retired after a prestigious career with the NYPD, homicide detective Dave Gurney is pulled back into service when an old college friend receives threatening letters from a murderous sender who has an uncanny ability to read a person's thoughts.
About the Author
JOHN VERDON has held several executive positions with Manhattan advertising firms, but like his protagonist, he recently relocated with his wife to rural upstate New York. Think of a Number is his first novel.