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.
©2005 John Verdon (P)2010 Random House
"Think of a Number is truly unputdownable. Rarely have I read a debut novel that has gripped me as this one has from the first page to the last. This book doesn’t just entertain – it engages you and draws you immediately into the lives of the characters, who are as real as real can be. John Verdon has written a flawless novel about flawed people and he’s written it beautifully. I hope we see a lot more of John Verdon and his smart protagonist, Dave Gurney, in years to come.” (Nelson DeMille)
“John Verdon’s Think of a Number is simply one of the best thrillers I’ve read in a lifetime of thriller reading -- eloquent, heart-rending, deeply suspenseful on many levels, and relentlessly intelligent. The characters live and breathe, the plot is diabolically clever and airtight, and the prose is sublime. Absolutely not to be missed! At one stroke, Verdon establishes himself as a bright star in the thriller firmament.” (John Lescroart)
"Verdon’s protagonist Dave Gurney is one for the ages, and readers everywhere will surely clamor to see this man again. Think of a Number gets full marks from me. And I think it will from you, too. Enjoy." (David Baldacci)
Mystery/Detective/Thriller/Historical/SciFi/ Patrick O'Brien/ Eve Dallas/ Dept.Q/Mo Haydee/Peter Cline/Aaronovitch/K McCarthy / Live Aloha!
It took me longer than usual to engage with this one. It is a terrific mystery, I was really impressed with the creativity of author and will definitely download another one of his books.
The narration got in the way of giving it 5 stars. I found it rather amateurish and too bland for the story, which deserved better. Still and all, it's too good a book to ignore so go for it!
Starting with a mystery told by an old college friend, this book gathers itself to a fast pace that has held me twice
A while back I read this thriller non stop.
Listening to it now, I found it just as good
Books are wonderful. When I am sad or feeling down, all I need to do is turn on a book, and I'm in a different world.... Thank you!
The delivery of the story. Unrealistic wording - for sur!.
The twists and turns were good. Not really a Thriller.
Maybe ?! He was also a bit disappointing.
The core concept/story was good.
He could have done better. Come down to earth!
I've always had more love for reading than time for it. Now Audible lets me read while I drive, cook, garden, clean, workout, etc. I love it
the story was disjointed and often pedantic. the narration was really bad. what a total waste of time and money. :-(
I really enjoyed the book but thought the ending could have had a little more of a twist. Overall a great listen, though, and I would definitely recommend it!
A classic story of an old cop too good and too involved to retire, a serial killer with several trick in sleeves, and many likable character makes up for a bit too predictable storyline.
John verdon delivers a very entertaining book, properly narrated and voiced by George Newbern
One of the better audiobooks I've listened to. Kept me interested and looking for activities to continue listening
the plot was not completely predictable, had several theories throughout the story, all thankfully failed. I don't like to figure out the killer until the author intends. Good book
found myself nodding to several of the psychological revelations throughout the story
So unusual to find a mystery/thriller/police story written with such intelligence and subtlety. The characters are three dimensional - wonderful experience.
Somewhat predictable story but captivating nonetheless.... the hints dropped are a bit frustrating because they leave little to guess. Overall, it was still worth the read and an interesting thriller.
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