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Think of a Number [Kindle Edition]

John Verdon
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"[An] inventive and entertaining first thriller. The hard-edged characters and gritty plot recall Chandler's "mean streets," but the ornate puzzles laid before Verdon's detective might have challenged the "little grey cells" of Hercule Poirot."--Washington Post

"Mr. Verdon was an advertising executive who retired to upstate New York before deciding on a more artistic pursuit. And if THINK OF A NUMBER is any indication, he'll have no trouble forgetting about that day job. The transition couldn't be much smoother...Verdon is masterly at keeping Gurney [his protagonist] a step ahead of the reader [and] the murder itself is a pretty crafty piece of legerdemain....[The novel features] the kind of head-scratching setup that would get Sherlock Holmes off his cocaine [and] Gurney has the same precision, logic and thirst for clarity."--New York Times

"Verdon’s deftly written, erudite debut is an exquisitely plotted novel of suspense."
--Portland Oregonian

"Mostly what makes this work is the intricate fabric that debut novelist Verdon weaves, as complications twist into what seems to be an impossible knot."--Chicago Sun-Times

"Good writing and good storytelling often aren’t the same thing. Verdon combines them masterfully...Here’s hoping Verdon has what it takes to churn out more books like this."--Newark Star Ledger

“Verdon’s brought back crimes of impossibility, starting with the titular parlor game trifle and escalating until we're deep into serial murder territory. Verdon is a master at controlling pace, illustrating the story of a rich but complicated marriage, pondering what it means to be sucked back into your life's work even if it might kill you, and demanding that the reader use his or her brain to figure out what comes next. When you're finished, you may not trust silly parlor games ever again.”--Salon
“Savor the sense of loss that haunts this strong debut.”--Houston Chronicle
“John Verdon has…created an incredible crime novel which could give Steig Larsson a run for his well-earned money…All of the characters are incredibly well developed…The descriptions of scenes make you feel like you are there, and the plot is brilliant.”--The Herald-Dispatch (West Virginia)
“Will hook just about any reader…An astoundingly addictive work filled with real life characters that jump off the page into a daring and skillful plot, this book will leave you stumped and hungry for more…THINK OF A NUMBER excels in its interweaving of wonderful characterization and psychological Insight…[Verdon] has created a book for all readers, not just those who revel in the thriller genre.”– New York Journal of Books
“The mystery is brilliantly executed…If you read only one thriller this year, make it THINK OF A NUMBER.”-- Bookloons
“Think of a number between one and ten…Now multiply that by zero. Which is how many times you’ll put this book down.” --Mystery Scene
"The numbers game gets a murderous spin in Verdon’s deft, literate debut."--Publishers Weekly

"Verdon’s superb debut novel is a riveting thriller with a wonderfully baffling crime. Think of a Number is a 10, and crime fans of almost every persuasion will love it. An outstanding debut."— Thomas Gaughan, Booklist (Starred Review)

“Addictive and thoroughly engrossing…In THINK OF A NUMBER, Verdon plays deliciously on our deepest, most primal fears, portraying a killer who seems to see right into people’s minds.  Few readers will be able to resist the lure of watching an unstoppable detective track an uncatchable killer.  This tale will grab hold of you like a steel jaw trap."--Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of VANISHED
“Verdon's premise is clever and his police work convincing, which right there might be enough; but the real joy of this book is its characters.  Each one, no matter how minor, is unique and beautifully observed.  THINK OF A NUMBER had me from the opening pages and carried me right along.”-- S.J. Rozan, Edgar-winning author of THE SHANGHAI MOON

"Spectacular and mind-bending, THINK OF A NUMBER is 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, New York Times bestselling author of ICE COLD

“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, New York Times bestseller author of STONE KISS and THE FORGOTTEN

“THINK OF A NUMBER is truly unputdownable.  Rarely have I read a debut novel that has gripped me as this one has from the first page to the last.  This book doesn’t just entertain – it engages you and draws you immediately into the lives of the characters, who are as real as real can be.  John Verdon has written a flawless novel about flawed people and he’s written it beautifully.  I hope we see a lot more of John Verdon and his smart protagonist, Dave Gurney, in years to come.”--Nelson DeMille, New York Times bestseller author of THE LION’S GAME, THE GENERAL’S DAUGHTER and GOLD COAST

"John Verdon's THINK OF A NUMBER is one of the finest thrillers I've read in years. I devoured it.  Consistently intelligent, fast-paced, filled with clever twists and psychological insight, and characters that come alive on every page, it entertains from the opening set-piece, right through the tension-filled ending. 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. If there were a line-up of upcoming mystery-thriller suspects,  I have little doubt that just about every witness would pick out THINK OF A NUMBER.”--John Katzenbach, New York Times bestselling author of THE TRAVELER, JUST CAUSE and HART’S WAR
“John Verdon’s THINK OF A NUMBER is 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.  The characters live and breathe, the plot is diabolically clever and airtight, and the prose is sublime.  Absolutely not to be missed! At one stroke, Verdon establishes himself as a bright star in the thriller firmament.”--John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author of  THE SUSPECT, BETRAYAL and A PLAGUE OF SECRETS
“Just when you think the serial killer thriller has been done to death, someone comes along and revives it!  THINK OF A NUMBER is written with pace, style and intelligence. It has rounded characters, teasing puzzles, and lots of tension. The number I'm thinking of is 1!”--Reginald Hill, author of RULING PASSION and MIDNIGHT FUGUE and winner of the Crime Writer’s Association Dagger Award for Lifetime Achievement
"THINK OF A NUMBER is a subtle and intelligent thriller of the first order.  With his gripping premise, well-drawn characters, and relentless escalation of suspense, John Verdon has penned an exciting debut.  Don't miss it."--Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of DIE FOR YOU
“THINK OF A NUMBER is a dark, disturbing, and completely compelling debut.
It's got menacing puzzles you won't be able to figure out, a villain who will raise the hairs on the back of your neck, and a wonderful main character in retired homicide cop Dave Gurney. The pages turn themselves.”--Spencer Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of DOG ON IT!

"I loved this book. It’s at once familiar to thriller readers and something incredibly new. It’s a puzzle mystery and a police procedural and a cautionary tale about loss and love—the book literally has something for everyone, with a conclusion so eerily perfect it could have been scripted by Hitchcock himself. This is a thriller that will rewrite the rules of the genre."—Will Lavender, New York Times bestselling author of OBEDIENCE

From the Hardcover edition.


Think of a Number is the chilling debut from John Verdon.

It begins with a letter . . . The letter contains a request - think of a number, any number - and a sealed envelope. Inside the envelope is that number.

When Dave Gurney, retired NYPD homicide detective, is contacted by an old college acquaintance about some startling letters he's been receiving, it is at first little more than a diverting but sinister puzzle. Until the acquaintance is brutally killed.

Suddenly Gurney finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation that makes no sense. The killer seems to have known his victim intimately. How else was he able to predict his victim's thoughts, even his actions? How did he know his darkest secrets?

The killer is smart and he is playing with the police. Gurney needs to be smarter if he's going to catch him, but this seems only to be the beginning. And the killer alone knows where it will end.

Think of a Number is the debut from John Verdon and is the first in a series starring the retired detective Dave Gurney. In the tradition of Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay, John Verdon's unique high-concept plot and memorable cast of series characters will be a major hit with thriller fans. Subsequent titles include let The Devil Sleep and Shut Your Eyes Tight.

Praise for John Verdon:
'The best thriller I've read in a long, long time' Tess Gerritsen
'Wow! Totally absorbing, brilliantly written. The best book I've read this year' The Sun

John Verdon, a former Manhattan advertising executive, lives with his wife on a small hilltop in upstate New York. His first two Dave Gurney novels are Think of a Number and Shut Your Eyes Tight.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 2604 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 434 Seiten
  • Verlag: Penguin (5. August 2010)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B003ZDNNT4
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (4 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #157.116 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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4.0 von 5 Sternen
4.0 von 5 Sternen
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Thinking of 100 pages less... 2. Juli 2013
Von dieleseratz TOP 1000 REZENSENT
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Das Buch begann sehr spannend und als richtiger "Pageturner". Aber gut 100 Seiten folgte die Ernüchterung:
Der Held der Story - unser Ex-Cop im Ruhestand - ist ein merkwürdig unfertiger, blasser Charakter: Ein introvertierter, leicht unsympatischer "Frührentner", der neben seiner Frau herlebt, weder mit ihr noch mit dem Sohn aus erster Ehe spricht, sich in Arbeit vergräbt.
Die Morde? Werden über hunderte von Seiten immer wieder durchgekaut, endlose Besprechungen, wie/warum/wann der Mord bzw. die Morde passierten, endlose Diskussionen, endlose Selbstreflektionen unseres Helden....
Es sind einfach 100 Seiten zuviel - und leider ist das Ende wenig überraschend, da so wenige (lebende) Personen vorkommen, dass die Auswahl an Tätern recht übersichtlich ist. Schade - keine Twists and Turns.
Fazit: Grundsätzlich ein guter neuer Autor, grundsätzlich eine originelle Geschichte mit Potential, aber mit der Umsetzung haperte es sehr. Nur aufgrund des "Neulingsbonus'" noch drei Sterne.
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Von Donald Mitchell TOP 1000 REZENSENT
"'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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4.0 von 5 Sternen Rätselthriller 1. Februar 2011
Von seVen
Wer Rätsel mag, wird dieses Buch lieben. Ich fand es total klasse, weil die meisten Krimis oder Thriller mich nicht mehr wirklich überraschen. Auch wenn das Ende eher mäßig ausgefallen ist, hat es Spaß gemacht, rumzurätseln!
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5.0 von 5 Sternen SPANNEND!!! 2. Dezember 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Unglaublich packend und aufregend! Ich habe es im Bekanntenkreis verliehen (Englisch-Lehrer-Kreis, ausgewiesene Krimi-Fans) und alle sind begeistert!LESEN!!! Das ist mein 2. von ihm - man muss Verdon "im Auge" behalten...
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.2 von 5 Sternen  473 Rezensionen
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1.0 von 5 Sternen I hope this helps someone 28. Juli 2010
Von Giuliano Reali - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I am going to make this a brief but hopefully helpful review. Actually, I am not even going to say if the book is good or bad, considering how subjective that is. I am simply going to make a couple of points and then let you draw your own conclusions:

1) While I consider myself an intelligent person, when it comes to these mystery books I must admit that I'm very "slow", usually I don't figure out who the killer is until it is thrown right at my face. Lame, I know. The reason I am saying this is that while reading this book I managed to pick up on the mystery way before the "brilliant" Detective Gurney. Considering my usual ineptitude to solve mysteries, this is saying a lot.

2) The main character, Detective David Gurney, is made out to be a brilliant cop, almost a genius of superior intellect. However, throughout the book he is outsmarted by his wife several times, and he makes those mistakes that have you slap your forehead in disbelief. I have to say, I automatically disqualify any book that has its hero make those forehead-slapping mistakes that make me roll my eyes. Really, to me that is a deal breaker. If anyone had told me I would find that in this book, it would have been enough to prevent me from buying it. So if you are like me and don't like having your intelligence underestimated, I suggest you look elsewhere. If you are able to overlook that, you may find this book quite passable.

Well, this was not as short as I planned, but I hope it helps!
69 von 82 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen I am thrilled to introduce Dave Gurney, retired homicide detective! 13. Juni 2010
Von Judy K. Polhemus - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
Edward X Delaney has long been my favorite detective in a crime fiction series. Until now....Allow me to introduce Dave Gurney, Ret. NYPD Detective, famous for catching serial killers, now the main character in "Think of a Number," by first-time novelist John Verdon.

Advice to Mr. Verdon: Keep those Gurney books coming. You've got a long, bright future with this character, his driven nature, and his smart wife. Can you tell I loved this book?!

So how does Dave Gurney compare with Det. Delaney? Gurney does not eat drippy tomato sandwiches over the kitchen sink nor does he drink exotic liquors or beers. But both men are very methodical, very minute in first figuring out how the murder was done, then finding the killer. Delaney had a dying wife, but Gurney has a very smart one. In fact, on at least two occasions, she provides the key to discovering the mystery behind two of the murders.

What Lawrence Sanders does in the Deadly Sins series and Verdon in this (hopefully) new Gurney series is give the reader very human detectives with positive traits and negative ones. Gurney is very rational, logical, number-driven, and possessing a powerful work ethic that won't rest until the murder is solved and the murderer arrested.

"Think of a Number" is doubly tricky. What would you do if a mysterious letter arrived and the contents indicated that the writer knew of your secret history and could identify a number that he asks you to randomly pick right then. And voila! The number in the second envelope is exactly the wild, random number you picked out of 1000. Your number is 658; the number in the second envelope is 658. How in the world!!? And how does he know your past. You continue to receive communications from this unknown person, each more ominous.

The receiver is Mark Mellery, a college acquaintance of Gurney, one he barely knew, but one who knows Gurney's record for catching serial killers. Mellery is really frightened and pretty much begs Gurney to find out who the letter-writer, then telephone-caller is. Madeleine, Gurney's wife, pretty much begs him to not get involved. He is retired; they were supposed to do things together. She was a patient wife during all his absences of active duty cases when his steel-trap mind was working non-stop to solve serial murders.

Then there's the art teacher who is attracted to Gurney, despite his marital status and despite also having Madeleine as a student in the same art class. This class was Madeleine's effort to have them do things together in their retirement. But what annoys her is that this art teacher is encouraging Gurney in his new art effort. He takes photos of his serial killers and uses a photo program to enhance the killer look. Too chilling, too horrifying, too downright reminiscent of the killers' sick psyches. And this woman would hang these in her art gallery! And call him on pretext!

Oh, I could wax on all night about this book. Short version: Gurney is hooked. New York pays him as a consultant. There are murders and such spooky mysteries concerning each case. How are the victims related? What is the connection? Does Gurney maintain his record and solve them? You would think so, wouldn't you?

John Verdon, please keep Dave Gurney alive by writing another book! He is too fascinating a character, as is his smart wife, to let them rest in just one book!
28 von 34 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Clever in spots, overall falls short 6. August 2010
Von Beach McDriftwood - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Dave Gurney is a retired (at age 47), much decorated police officer. The author never adequately explains how, in his short career, Gurney manages to solve so many serial killings, but never mind. He's pulled into what turns out to be yet another serial killer's doings by an old college acquaintance who receives poems involving numbers.

There is much in this book that is quite clever, and I enjoyed the writing. But there are too many subplots that just dangle, never resolved. There are obvious leads that are never explored. There are faux-rensics (fake forensics), improper police procedures for the jurisdictions written about; for example, local police conducting murder investigations. I won't go into detail because I hate a spoiler, but suffice to say the better writers in this genre get the details right. This is yet another CSI-style detective novel with not enough underlying research.

On a side note, I bought this because it was advertised by the publishing house as having a tremendous sale price. I liked the write up, and the reviews looked very strong. Boy, was I fooled. I could have done much better for my money. It should have been free.
37 von 47 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen 3 1/2 Stars -- A Good (Not Great) Debut That Is A Step Removed From The "Same Old, Same Old" In The Mystery Genre! 19. Mai 2010
Von Bobbewig - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
John Verdon's first book, Think Of A Number, provides some needed freshness to the mystery genre, which is filled with books that can be characterized as "same old, same old." While Think Of A Number has a few too many peaks and valleys, it, overall, is an interesting, suspenseful and intelligent book that I found enjoyable and entertaining. Without going into a lot of detail, the plot kicks off with some people receiving a taunting letter that ends with a simple declaration: "See how well I know your secrets -- just think of a number." Those who comply find the letter writer has predicted their random choices exactly. For the retired police investigator brought in as a consultant, the letters are oddities that begin as a diverting puzzle but then ignite a massive serial murder investigation. Besides its well-written (though at times uneven) plot, Verdon does a good job in creating some realistic and multi-dimensional characters. That should be enough to help you decide if this is a book for you.
10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Tedious, Overlong, Implausible 24. Oktober 2010
Von lyle - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
It starts well enough: threatening poems, 'psychic' stalker, terrorized victim, gruesome death.

But implausibilities pile up. Starting with, for example, the evocative phrase 'Think of a number'. It should have led the master detective to investigate mind-reading tricks even before the first murder. But then he would have solved the crime quickly and it would have been a short book.

Which it definitely is not. Dozens of pages are wasted in unbearably dull conference room scenes, dozens more in tedious marital drama, and dozens more in the master detective's self-involved ruminations while driving around.

There is very little actual police work. Obvious questions are never asked. Lines of inquiry which would have found the killer are avoided. There is little action.

The climax is preposterous.
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