Think of A Number

Think of A Number

A Novel

Book - 2010
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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 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.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307588920
Branch Call Number: MYS VER
Characteristics: 418 p. ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: Think of a numb3r


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Beaverton_BethG Oct 13, 2018

If you're a fan of the Netflix series Mindhunter, or the book by John Douglas, you'll enjoy the Dave Gurney series of novels.

Oct 01, 2018

I've apparently read this (and in fact own it). Since it's the first in the series and I don't remember it, consider re-reading before going for the next book. Downloaded to Kindle.

Aug 09, 2017

I got caught up in the story quickly and the puzzles were satisfying. I thought it was a little too long, and afterwards, hardly any of it really made any sense (explaining why would involve lots of spoilers.) (What did surprise me was that there was no reference to John Dickson Carr stories by the detectives, since there were lots of elements of "the impossible crime" afoot.)

trevordunfordswife Nov 10, 2016

One of the most phenomenal murder mystery debuts I have ever read! Thoroughly enjoyed matching wits with this killer and scratching my head as the author took me through the twists and turns of the labyrinthine murders. How DID he do that? Excellent novel. Thoroughly enjoyed myself of this page-turner I could not put down.

May 31, 2016

When an author repeats the same clue four or five times, I think he has a low opinion of my intelligence. When he repeats the same clue ten or 12 times, I think he has no respect for my intelligence. But Verdon has the record for the book which has insulted my intelligence to the point that I hate the author, narrator, and the characters--same clues TWENTY TIMES! Really? The character isn't mulling--the author is padding the book; longer means more money, doesn't it? This could be whittled down to 150 pages and be a good book. I rated it 1 1/2 stars only because I did finish it--and was still (sadly) very disappointed in the standard cliche mentally deranged killer. I recommend this only for people who have never seen a cop show, who have never read a mystery or police procedural, or never learned to hold an idea for more than five minutes.

Nov 09, 2015

A great read - well written - full of twists and turns. Unexpected ending. Will definitely read more

Levi_Hayes Oct 27, 2015

I was tempted to rate this a 4, but it's just not quite good enough for me to give it that extra nudge. I probably stopped at a really bad place (51 pages left) and that killed the suspense for me since the chapter I started after picking the book up today was clearly the climax and I found myself not nearly as gripped as I was by the rest of the book. I wasn't as disappointed by the ending or the antagonist as I have been by most other mystery books, but that isn't to say I wasn't. Gregory Dermott is probably one of the most well-developed antagonists/serial killers I have read about in fiction, and yet there were some blatant short cuts made by the author by slapping a couple stereotypes on him, which instantly lost Verdon some credibility for me.
As a side note, beware of the super lazy character description, written by saying a character looks like a certain well-known actor. It's used for multiple characters and the disregard for making a scene better by avoiding that #1 pitfall is obvious.

Dec 07, 2014

This book is one heck of a surprise. Talk about a REAL page turner. Every one is a discovery. The suspense is kept till the end. Clues are everywhere but we're kept in the dark and quite confused. This is my first Verdon as is Verdon first book, but will not be the last. A real pleasure to read and with no, really NO, dull moments. The story just flows along like a mighty river. Just amazing.

Apr 23, 2013

A little slow developing but about half way through it did pick up.

ehbooklover Dec 28, 2012

This book was recommended to me by a customer. I was not disappointed and plan to read more books in the series. A fantastic edge-of-your-seat thriller full of twists and turns that I literally could not put down.

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Mar 21, 2011

Think of Think of Number as a thinker's thinking mystery about thinking about a deadly puzzle, and you will revel in its serpentine plot. Much like a "closed-room" mystery, wherein the deadly deed is done with impossible circumstances, you will easily latch on to Verdon's first ever book.

The mind-boggling mystery is investigated by retired famed NYPD detective Gurney, who truly relishes a first-class puzzle, at the behest of a long-lost friend, only to get caught up in its investigation and its riveting conclusion. Verdon is clever enough to make you feel like you, the reader, know what has happened, a couple of times, only to pull the rug from under you and throw you into a tail-spin.

My experience with first-timer authors is to sustain that excellent first book, where the author worked at length to craft a superb mystery, into another follow-up book, and then only to falter (witness Level 26 and its sequel). But, I digress, enjoy this most excellent tale of a tale of numbers that baffles all except the sharp mind of a retired detective.

Truly excellent!

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