The first book in the Dave Gurney series, Think of a Number is a heart-pounding game of cat and mouse that grows relentlessly darker and more frightening as its pace accelerates
Threatening letters arrive in the mail over a period of weeks, ending with a simple declaration: “Think of any number . . . picture it . . . now see how well I know your secrets.” Those who comply find that the letter writer has predicted their random choice exactly. But when oddities that begin as a diverting puzzle quickly ignite into a massive serial murder investigation, police are confronted with a 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.
Brought in as an investigative consultant, Dave Gurney, a recently retired NYPD homicide investigator, 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 he wonders if he’s met an adversary who can’t be stopped.
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.
The numbers game gets a murderous spin in Verdon's deft, literate debut. Recently retired NYPD homicide detective Dave Gurney is an old warhorse much too easily led to water, in the view of his increasingly disenchanted wife, who insists it's now me-time. But it surprises neither of them that Gurney snaps at the lure when a beleaguered friend sets before him a tasty, number-driven puzzle. Mark Mellery has been receiving mysterious mailings that terrify him because he's convinced the author of them can somehow read his mind, and because the mailings threaten his death for crimes he can't recall having committed. Nor is Mellery the only one, it soon become evident, as a particularly malignant serial killer buckles down to business. Ever the puzzle master, Gurney tracks and unravels each clue until in an attenuated denouement that constitutes one of this thriller's rare self-indulgences he finally makes the numbers add up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I love this character and the way that you write about him. He is complicated and intelligent and very human He is as fascinating as Harry Bosch and I never thought I would find another detective Who was this complicated and funny and relentless. Thank you for creating Dave Gurney.
Well written, tightly plotted...
Think Of A Number
For a first book--It's a 5. Maybe I won't give the next books of his I read a 5, and I will read them, and a lower # will only be because he set such a high bar with #1