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Think of a Number Paperback – 5 Aug 2010

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Think of a Number + Shut Your Eyes Tight + Let the Devil Sleep (Dave Gurney 3)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (5 Aug 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141048700
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141048703
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


Written with pace, style, intelligence, teasing puzzles and lots of tension.The number I'm thinking of is 1! (Reginald Hill)

Addictive and thoroughly engrossing . . . this tale will grab hold of you like a steel jaw trap (Joseph Finder)

Spectacular and mind-bending . . . the best thriller I've read in a long, long time. John Verdon's writing is so polished, so nuanced, it makes me envious that I didn't write this terrific novel (Tess Gerritsen)

John Verdon has written a flawless novel about flawed people and he's written it beautifully (Nelson DeMille)

With its edge-of-the-chair suspense, memorable characters that jump off the pages, and elegant and deft writing, John Verdon's Think of a Number is a stunning debut (Faye Kellerman)

One of the finest thrillers I've read in years. I devoured it. In a genre frequently and sadly known for delivering more of the same old familiar stuff, Think of a Number stands out as original and exciting (John Katzenbach)

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. Absolutely not to be missed! (John Lescroart)

About the Author

John Verdon has held several executive positions with Manhattan advertising firms but, like his protagonist, recently relocated with his wife to rural upstate New York.Think of a Number is his first novel.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Gemma TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Oct 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Crime thrillers are my favourite read, however I do read a lot of them and so these days, it takes something special to get me excited about a book and to have me hooked, and I'm pleased to say this one had me hooked.

Right from the offset I knew this wasn't going to be a boring, run of mill crime fiction read. The book is told through the eyes of retired homicide detective Dave Gurney. He was a famous detective back in the day, and caught a few serial killers. It's no surprise then that an old college acquaintance contacts him with a problem. Despite assuring him he's not a Private Investigator by any means, Mark Mellery is desparate to talk to Gurney, but won't reveal what until he meets him in person. Mark Mellery shows up with a disturbing note from a strangerm which asks Mark to think of a number between 1 and 1000, before opening the envelope. When he did, the number in the envelope was the number he was thinking of...

This bizarre note is the first in a series of spiralling events ending in Mellery's death, and Guerney realises this is a lot more sinister than originally thought. Through out the book we follow Guerney and the NYPD as they try to solve the bizarre mysteries behind this killer, such as weird clues left behind at a crime scene, and they quickly try to solve it before the killer strikes again.

I loved every minute of this book and it's one of the best serial killer crime books I've read in a while. I loved how bizarre the clues are, and I simply couldn't figure it out myself and it was genuinely exciting reading how the detectives were trying to fathom it all out. Guerney is quite a likeable character, thought sometimes the storylines showing the relationship with this wife were a bit frustrating, as they have a strange kind of relationship.

Overall I highly recommend giving this one a read, you will not regret it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Moto Moto on 10 Oct 2010
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book for a holiday as the blurb on the jacket sounded intriguing and for a holiday read formula detective fiction is the biz.

A letter is received that asks the recipient to think of a random number and then open a second envelope where said number is printed. Psychic? Deep-rooted code?

John Verdon's debut novel is a pretty easy read but he doesn't seem to like any of his characters with the exception of the protaganist, Dave Gurney, your common or garden retired cop with emotional baggage who can't quite let go of his job. Alex Cross must've been busy elsewhere. But after a few characters who are described as fake, officious, shallow, transparent et cetera, it becomes annoying that Verdon seemingly just dislikes people except for the good-and-true Gurney and maybe one or two others.

Additionally, the mystery resolve is a major letdown and annoyingly simplistic. However, Verdon keeps things going with crisp dialogue, albeit a bit too close to the cliches of this genre, it's just a shame that chapters are pumped with filler and a sort of literary beaurocracy that goes deep into the processes of things we don't really care about or need to know.

Verdon shows promise but Gurney isn't a very interesting fellow and if the creator can't paint characters we care about then why should we care when they're in danger?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 May 2012
Format: Paperback
"'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord." -- Hebrews 10:30 (NKJV)

Think of a Numb3r combines the best of Golden Age puzzles with the visceral rawness of a fifties story about a deranged killer. If you are a fan of those types of mysteries, this is a great book to read.

Today's mysteries tend to add to the mix a fascinating detective, whose life we come to inhabit rather closely. Here's where some readers will have a valid complaint: While retired homicide detective Dave Gurney is a great puzzle solver, he's far from the most engaging detective to read about. He's filled with anxieties and regrets that you may not share. If you don't, you'll feel a little too much psychological distance from the book that will affect your ability to enjoy the story, independent of the puzzle.

I found the ending to be a bit of a disappointment in that this piece of the puzzle should have been obvious to Gurney et al much sooner. That's the only reason I graded the book down at all. If this part doesn't bother you when you get to it, you'll probably think this is a little better book than I did.

For a first mystery novel, I thought that Mr. Verdon did a very creditable job. For much of the book, especially in the beginning, I felt was if I were in the hands of a master. I intend to stick with this series after so much of a promising beginning, even though I didn't like the second book, Shut Your Eyes Tight, as much as this one.

I was particularly pleased to see that the puzzle's solution is based on two tried-and-true cons of the sort that the police run into from time to time. To me, that made the story seem much more authentic, something I like in puzzle-oriented mysteries.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lizzy on 20 July 2011
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book, it's an easy read and captures the attention.
But I stumble over the fact that such a brilliant detective didn't carry out a basic procedural check on one of the central figures - you can guess who as I don't want to spoil it. I was asking myself why this hadn't happened halfway through. If it had been done lives would have been saved!
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