Think of a Number
Test the mind of a killer. Play the THINK OF A NUMBER Game. From the book by John Verdon.
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About Think of a Number

Arriving in the mail one day is a taunting letter that ends with a simple declaration "See how well I know your secrets-just think of a number." Eerily, those who comply find that the letter writer has predicted their random choice exactly. For Dave Gurney, just retired as the NYPD's top homicide investigator and forging a new life with his wife, Madeleine, in upstate New York, the letters are oddities that begin as a diverting puzzle but quickly ignite a massive serial-murder investigation. Brought in as an investigative "consultant," Gurney soon accomplishes deductive breakthroughs that have local police in awe. Yet, with each taunting move by his seemingly clairvoyant opponent, Gurney feels his tragedy-marred past rising up to haunt him, his marriage approaching a dangerous precipice, and, finally, a dark, cold fear building that he's met an adversary who can't be stopped.


Think of a Number book image"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

"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 Numberis a stunning debut." —Faye Kellerman

"Think Of A Numberis 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

"John Verdon's Think Of A Numberis 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

"Think Of A Numberis 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

"[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)

About John Verdon

Author photoJohn Verdon has held several executive positions with Manhattan advertising firms, but like his protagonist, he recently relocated with his wife to rural upstate New York. Think of a Number, his first novel, was an international bestseller, soaring to the top of bestseller lists in twenty countries. His second, Shut Your Eyes Tight, also features Detective Dave Gurney.

by John Verdon

Format: , pages
On Sale: June 28, 2011
Price: $

Buy Think of a Number

Shut Your Eyes Tight
by John Verdon

Format: Hardcover, 528 pages
On Sale: July 12, 2010
Price: $24.00
ISBN: 978-0-307-71789-4

Buy Shut Your Eyes Tight