Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

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 🙂

October 6, 2010 - Posted by | 4 Star Books |


  1. Wasn’t this book interesting? I really enjoyed it and hope that the author will continue with a sequel or a series. I liked Dave and I really liked Madeleine.

    Comment by Kay | October 6, 2010 | Reply

    • I’m hoping for it to continue as a series too!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | October 6, 2010 | Reply

  2. “I don’t know if he plans on writing more books about Dave, but if he does I’ll be first in line.”

    Not if I beat you there first! 🙂 I liked it more than you anyway, so it’s only fair.

    Comment by Thoughts of Joy | October 6, 2010 | Reply

    • Well, I probably could have given it a 4.5 just as easily, so maybe we could both be in line first 🙂

      Comment by stacybuckeye | October 6, 2010 | Reply

  3. I love a good thriller and mystery, so this sounds right up my alley. I wonder if I’ll catch the clue.

    Comment by bermudaonion | October 6, 2010 | Reply

    • Let me know if you do!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | October 7, 2010 | Reply

  4. I’m glad you liked it. I felt the same way … I got invested in Dave and Madeline too. Plus of course I didn’t have a clue how the killer was doing it all … but I’m dumb like that!

    Comment by Jenners | October 6, 2010 | Reply

    • I had no clue either! Fascinating idea, I thought.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | October 7, 2010 | Reply

  5. My friend read this and hated it, so I passed on her offer to read it. Now in the past few days I’ve read great reviews from bloggers whose opinions I trust. Darn it…I’m going to have to see if she’s mailed it out to the person who wanted it yet!!!

    Comment by Staci | October 6, 2010 | Reply

    • Let me know and I can send you this copy.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | October 7, 2010 | Reply

  6. This sounds great, definitely adding to Wishlist, great review Stacy.

    Comment by Marce | October 6, 2010 | Reply

    • I think you’ll like it!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | October 7, 2010 | Reply

  7. Thanks for the review! The book is on my TBR.

    Comment by Misha Mathew | October 6, 2010 | Reply

  8. I have been in a thriller slump. I just can’t find any that don’t feel lame with a capital L. So I have put this on the list to get to – I keep hoping I’ll find a goodie.

    Comment by Bumble | October 7, 2010 | Reply

    • I hate that. I can get thriller burnout too.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | October 7, 2010 | Reply

  9. I’m with you on the part about Gurney and his wife – I was most interested in that, oddly enough.

    Comment by StephanieD | October 7, 2010 | Reply

    • I’m glad to see a few of you mentioned that. I really think it made the book a cut above.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | October 7, 2010 | Reply

  10. I have a copy of this one I need to get to. I am so glad you liked it, Stacy. It sounds like it will be good.

    Comment by Literary Feline | October 10, 2010 | Reply

  11. This is right up my alley too!

    Comment by givingreadingachance | October 10, 2010 | Reply

  12. I love puzzles! So this is definitely something I’d love to read.

    Comment by Alice Teh | October 14, 2010 | Reply

  13. […] 3 of the Dave Gurney series. (Book 1 – Think of a Number) (Book 2- Shut Your Eyes […]

    Pingback by Let the Devil Sleep by John Verdon, TLC tour stop « Stacy's Books | August 7, 2012 | Reply

  14. […] read all three of his Dave Gurney thrillers and loved them all. (Think of a Number, Shut Your Eyes Tight, Let the Devil Sleep)  His next one comes out in July so there’s still […]

    Pingback by V is for Viggo Verdon’s Violet Vendetta « Stacy's Books | April 25, 2014 | Reply

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