27 July 2010

Think of a Number

Before I get to my review of Think of a Number by John Verdon, I would like to talk a little about my early reading habits. At a fairly young age, probably before I even understood that Donna Parker was "in Love" with the blonde sitting across the booth from her at the soda shop, I read all of the Donna Parker books. Then I moved on to Nancy Drew mysteries - all of them in rapid succession. I hope that some of you remember these series, if not, check them out! They were great!

Then my mother started collecting the Perry Mason mysteries by Earle Stanley Gardner. I read them all...for years. I developed a selective memory, forgetting who the murderer was, so that I could read them all again. The story lines were very formulaic. Mr. Mason, Paul Drake the detective, and Della Street the secretary always worked out the crime - usually when Mr. Mason was interrogating the witness on the stand. I loved them. Four children and a lifetime or two later, Think of a Number is the first murder mystery that I have read in quite some time. And. I. Loved. It!

Dave Guerney and his wife Madeline are trying to adjust to two things - the first is that Dave has just retired from the NYPD as a star homicide detective and the second is grief surrounding the death of their son years ago. But something interrupts the quiet life they are seeking. Mark, a college acquaintance of Dave's, contacts him about strange letters he has received. The first letter suggested that the writer knew Mark well enough to know what number between 1-1000 he would select - and he did know. The letter writer wanted money, then sent more letters:

How many bright angels
can dance on a pin?
How many hopes drown in
a bottle of gin?
Did the thought ever come
that your glass was a gun
and one day you'd wonder,
God, what have I done?

The rhymes continue to arrive - until Mark is murdered. Then no matter how hard Dave, and especially Madeline, try to stay objective about the clues and the new entanglements of the case, Dave is asked to serve as a consultant for what becomes the search for a serial murderer. Because people all over the state of New York are being found murdered with these strange messages in their homes. The story has many twists and turns and every time I thought I knew what was happening, I found I was wrong! As I neared the end, I could not go to bed until I finished the book - which is a true testament to a thriller.

I would like to thank Crown Publishers for providing me with the uncorrected proof of Think of a Number. While it was not required of me, I like to provide an honest review of ARC books (and I am not compensated in any way). If you want to join in the fun of the book, visit Crown Publishers and think of a number !!

TITLE: Think of a Number
AUTHOR: John Verdon
PAGES: 418
TYPE: fiction, mystery
RECOMMEND: I must admit that after years of not reading a good mystery, I really enjoyed this book.

1 comment:

Julie P said...

I just bought this for my Nook and look forward to reading it (someday)! I love a good thriller/mystery!