Friday, September 17, 2010

Think of a Numb3r

Think of a Number: A Novel
by John Verdon
Crown Books
July 2010

Think of a Numb3r is a debut novel for John Verdon and it is a first-rate effort. The protagonist is a decorated, retired NYPD detective Dave Guerney. He and his wife have retired to upstate New York and are trying to bring life back to a long term marriage that holds unspoken sorrow. Guerney is drawn reluctantly and then actively into an investigation of the death of a former college classmate. The serial killer who has killed the classmate and several others leaves number driven clues, baffling puzzles and other spooky evidence that taunts the police and specifically Guerney. Again I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to figuring out some mysteries but I thought the plot here was great; it kept me interested until the last pages. The cleverness of the clues reminded me of an Agatha Christie mystery – interesting, suspenseful and intelligent.

I think Verdun has a promising series with this detective. The character is philosophical, cerebral and has a multi dimensional personal life that includes an estranged son, unresolved issues with his now dead father and a marriage that you hope he can revive. The plotting could have been tighter; there is quite a lot of description of snow in upstate New York that really doesn’t add to the story (we get it Guerney is isolated and alone). The dialogue also seems stilted in places and could have been improved. Despite these relatively minor criticisms I liked this book, in a genre that I read a lot of it seemed fresh and new, Verdon is a gifted story teller!

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Completely agree! Thans for leaving the link to your review.