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Think of a Number Audiobook

Think of a Number: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (887 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.9 (720 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (720 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (142)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Beverly Goleta, California 93117 01-09-11
    Beverly Goleta, California 93117 01-09-11

    bella jackson

    HELPFUL VOTES
    544
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    "PLEASE!"

    I have listened to 3 hours and 29 minutes of this book and if i wanted to read a psychology book I know many others that would hold my interest more than this- It was touted as a psychological thriller but if it takes mores than 3 hours to get to the "thriller" part- I give up. I want my credit back.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William New Port Richey, FL, United States 09-23-10
    William New Port Richey, FL, United States 09-23-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "OK Story, but Terrible Reading"

    I enjoyed the story and the written book actually deserves more than the 2 stars I gave the Audible book. The story was a little slow in places, but kept my interest. I kept trying to figure out the puzzle all the way to the end. I really enjoyed the main character's attempt to figure out his life and relationship after retirement. I can see other novels in this series, since the renowned detective can't let go of what he enjoys and does best; so many killers, so few experts. The one plot element I didn't like was the death of a loved one as the reason for all the angst. This theme is really overworked (think of how many main characters are tormented by his loss of a loved one) and not needed to develop the character or his relationship with his wife. Ok, enough about the story. What I didn't like was the reader, George Newbern. Why he was picked as the reader, I'll never know. His voice and inflections are monochromatic and dull. The pitch of his voice is a little too mid-range which adds to the dullness of his reading; however, it would work if he read with a little more excitement, like he really wanted to do this. The first part of the reading is clipped and spoken like he's reading a dull textbook instead of a thrilling novel. He does get better about a third of the way into the book, like he's getting used to reading, but it's not enough to save the performance. He ruined the book for me. My wife, listened to part of the book with me on a road trip and said the same thing about the reader. I would buy the next story in the series, if the author wrote it, but not if George Newbern was the reader! This is one of my pet peeves with Audible books. Who makes the decision on readers? Do people compete for the opportunity to read an Audible book? Why not use a panel of listeners to decide the reader? Oh well, I'll start listening to the sample audio before I spend my credit.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melanie Los Lunas, NM, United States 08-19-10
    Melanie Los Lunas, NM, United States 08-19-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    2
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    "Intriguing story, overwritten and slow"

    Good original story, but the unabridged version has periods of slow pontification that just drag. Narration is more of a read than a performance. Still, the story makes it a worthwhile listen, but you might want the abridged version if available.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GogginGuy Fairfield, OH USA 07-17-14
    GogginGuy Fairfield, OH USA 07-17-14 Member Since 2014

    gogginguy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Couldn't make it through"
    Any additional comments?

    The narrator was performing this story and not telling a story; his voice always had this slightly hightened quality; all he needed to do was relax. His performace was remarkably uneasily dull. It didn't help that the writing was pretty amaturish -- the author was trying to create a rhythm in a by-the-numbers, I-learned-how-to-write-from-a-how-to-book way which was painfully obvious by the many torchured metaphors. The premise was not as interesting as other reviewers indicate; all you have to do is think about it and the explaination (which completely escapes this apparently smart retired detective) becomes clear. Solving the "mystery" early made the rest of it unbearable.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura 03-05-17
    Laura 03-05-17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "Good but not great"

    Kind of slow. Ending could have been better. Narration is good but not great. Hope the next book is better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wbc California 12-11-16
    wbc California 12-11-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "I can't decide"

    Was the problem the narrator or the story? I'm not quite sure since I kept falling asleep. Tue combo was not a good one though tue concept sounded intriguing. I may need to read this one instead.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Sandia Park, New Mexico, United States 12-05-16
    Michael Sandia Park, New Mexico, United States 12-05-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Great story with lots of snarky prose."

    l listened to this story several times and each time found it wonderfully entertaining. Excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Octopus Jones Maui 10-06-16
    Octopus Jones Maui 10-06-16 Member Since 2016

    Mystery/Detective/Thriller/Historical/SciFi/ Patrick O'Brien/ Eve Dallas/ Dept.Q/Mo Haydee/Peter Cline/Aaronovitch/K McCarthy / Live Aloha!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Great Story"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sabrina Tucson, AZ, United States 08-01-16
    Sabrina Tucson, AZ, United States 08-01-16 Member Since 2011

    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!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Seriously.... ?! Good Story, but poor delivery"
    What disappointed you about Think of a Number?

    The delivery of the story. Unrealistic wording - for sur!.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The twists and turns were good. Not really a Thriller.


    Would you be willing to try another one of George Newbern’s performances?

    Maybe ?! He was also a bit disappointing.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The core concept/story was good.


    Any additional comments?

    He could have done better. Come down to earth!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AMS 04-16-16
    AMS 04-16-16
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    "Loved it!"

    I always like a good murder mystery - especially one I can't figure out until the very end. This did not disappoint!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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