About This Blog

This blog was started as a place to post book reviews. The books reviewed here will be mixed. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, General Fiction, NonFiction and more. Both positve and negative reviews will be posted, as well as reviews for books written for all ages and all reading levels.

Many of the books reviewed here are ones that I have purchased for my own reading pleasure. Some, I receive free in exchange for reviews. Beginning in December, 2009 you will know which are the free ones if you read the final paragraph of my reviews.

Also of note: I choose what I will read, attempting to avoid the books on which I would end up writing a negative review... but I have been known to make mistakes. Thus you see some one and two star reviews here. Since I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, I only write them if the review was promised, or if the book was so exceedingly bad, I just had to say so. Regardless of the percentage of positive to negative reviews on this blog, I give my honest opinion each and every time, and have never received financial compensation for posting my reviews.

Note that, except for fair use portions quoted from some of the books reviewed, all copyright in the content of the reviews belongs to Lady Dragoness.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Non-stop, Page-turning Thriller

Think of a Number: A Novel
John Verdon
Crown (2010)
Hardcover, 432 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

This is a debut novel of a masterful storyteller.  John Verdon has imagined a fiendish antagonist who is able to make his victims believe he can read their minds. Each of the "marked" victims receives a letter in the mail presnting an intriguing puzzle. Detective Dave Gurney has recently retired from the NYPD homicide squad when he is asked by a friend to help solve a puzzling series of clues that begins with "think of a number" and continues with a series of amateurish poems, and ends with the death of the recipient... but that's just the first victim.

Long before the retired detective figures out the meaning of all the poetry, another man has received a similar letter ending with "think of a number." It isn't much longer before the police have asked Dave Gurney to be their investigative consultant based on his familiarity with the first case. Red herrings and real clues are mixed together in a devilish manner, leading the reader to wonder: Can Investigative Consultant Dave Gurney figure out the clues and give police the information needed to stop the killer?

There's nothing like a good murder mystery, and not much about Think of a Number resembles the average mystery plot. John Verdon has skipped the all-too-frequent drunken detective and a raft of other trite plot devices used by many mystery writers to bring us a refreshingly dramatic story. The characters are well-developed, the story well-crafted. Think of a Number is a page-turning, non-stop action novel that grips the reader on page one and continues to hold him or her hostage until the thrilling conclusion.

Recommended to mystery lovers.  This review is based on an advance reader edition printed from the author's uncorrected manuscript supplied to me by the publisher. This review has been simultaneously published on Dragon Views, LibraryThing and Amazon.com

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