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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Writer to Join the Ranks of Grisham and Brown etal

Think of a Number (Dave Gurney, # 1)Think of a Number by John Verdon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another first reads giveaway and the first thriller by this author, thankfully not his last, with another to be published in August. Combine a retired, highly successful NYPD homicide detective with a poetic, strange tormentor who eventually kills and you have a plot filled with mystery and dead ends. Add to that an author whose narrative smoothly weaves the main story with the backgrounds of the two protagonists and you have a book that is difficult to put down. It resonated also because though this man is retired it is hard to give up the work. It is also hard for his wife to realize that her hopes for a retired husband will probably not bear fruit. That transition from an active rewarding job to retirement is every bit as difficult as embarking on one's first career--maybe more difficult.

The description of the Catskill town in which David and Madelaine Gurney have retired and its environs give richness to the tale. As an example, it has become " a center of gravity for flower children approaching senility " and " the people who came for country week-ends wore what Ralph Lauren told them people in the country wore." Upon returning from a meeting with an old college friend who has received strange notes in which he is asked to think of a number and then open a smaller note to find that the sender identifies it correctly, he finds that his wife's plate " with its apple core, grape stems,flecks of cheddar and bread crumbs" indicates that she has eaten lunch without waiting for him. Not only did the plot and the characters draw me in but the language and its use transported me into the story. John Verdon's name could easily become as familiar as Brown or Grisham in my opinion.

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