Think of a Number, by John Verdon

Think of a Number by John Verdon: Book CoverFinished 10-1-10, rating 4/5, thriller, pub. 2010

Do you believe in Fate?  I do, because I thought I’d never see you again-and then one day, there you were.  It all came back: how you sound, how you move-most of all, how you think.  If someone told you to think of a number, I know what number you’d think of.  You don’t believe me?  I’ll prove it to you.  Think of any number up to a thousand-the first number that comes to your mind.  Picture it.  Now see how well I know your secrets.  Open the little envelope.

Chapter 4

Retired NYPD detective Dave Gurney is living in the country with his wife, Madeleine, and a hobby of using mug shots of serial killers to make art.  His inability to move past police work frustrates Madeleine and their marriage suffers.  Dave is contacted by an old college friend for help in finding who is sending him provocative letters.  Dave wants him to go to the police, but he refuses, so Dave helps him the best he can.  Only it looks like his friend is not the only one in danger and Dave is sucked into a state-wide investigation.

The hook of this thriller is the letters.  Each one predicts a number that the recipient will guess between 1 and 1000 and the letter always knows.  The letters also promise exposure for a past sin unless the recipient send money.  I’m not usually one to figure things like this out without a lit of help and this was no different.  Looking back there was one clue that could have made it less of a surprise, but I missed it.  The hook was a successful one.

I liked the mystery of it, but I also really liked the story involving Dave and Madeleine.  In thrillers there is rarely time or effort put into showing relationships, but this one did address a crumbling marriage and it did make me more invested in the book.  I wanted to know what would become of the couple.

This is a great debut and if you are a thriller or mystery fan, don’t miss it.  It would also appeal to puzzle lovers.  I don’t know if he plans on writing more books about Dave, but if he does I’ll be first in line.

I received this book from Jenners at Life…With Books.  Thanks Jenners 🙂