In John Verdon’s most sensationally twisty novel yet, ingenious puzzle solver Dave Gurney brings his analytical brilliance to a shocking murder that couldn’t have been committed the way the police say it was.
The daunting task that confronts Gurney, once the NYPD’s top homicide cop: determining the guilt or innocence of a woman already convicted of shooting her charismatic politician husband — who was felled by a rifle bullet to the brain while delivering the eulogy at his own mother’s funeral.
Peeling back the layers, Gurney quickly finds himself waging a dangerous battle of wits with a thoroughly corrupt investigator, a disturbingly cordial mob boss, a gorgeous young temptress, and a bizarre assassin whose child-like appearance has earned him the nickname Peter Pan.
Startling twists and turns occur in rapid-fire sequence, and soon Gurney is locked inside one of the darkest cases of his career – one in which multiple murders are merely the deceptive surface under which rests a scaffolding of pure evil. Beneath the tangle of poisonous lies, Gurney discovers that the truth is more shocking than anyone had imagined.
And the identity of the villain at the mystery’s center turns out to be the biggest shock of all.
In this latest novel from bestselling author John Verdon, ingenious puzzle solver Dave Gurney puts under the magnifying glass a notorious serial murder case – one whose motives have been enshrined as law-enforcement dogma – and discovers that everyone has it wrong.
The most decorated homicide detective in NYPD history, Dave Gurney is still trying to adjust to his life of quasi-retirement in upstate New York when a young woman who is producing a documentary on an infamous murder spree seeks his counsel. Soon after, Gurney begins feeling threatened: a razor-sharp hunting arrow lands in his yard, and he narrowly escapes serious injury in a booby-trapped basement. As things grow more bizarre, he finds himself reexamining the case of The Good Shepherd, which ten years before involved a series of roadside shootings and a rage-against-the-rich manifesto. The killings ceased, and a cult of analysis grew up around the case with a consensus opinion that no one would dream of challenging—no one, that is, but Dave Gurney. Mocked even by some who’d been his allies in previous investigations, Gurney realizes that the killer is too clever to ever be found. The only gambit that may make sense is also the most dangerous—to make himself a target and get the killer to come to him.
Dave Gurney, retired NYPD homicide investigator, is back in Shut Your Eyes Tight, the sequel to the international bestseller Think of a Number
Dave Gurney, a few months past the Mellery case that pulled him out of retirement and then nearly killed him, is trying once again to adjust to his country house’s bucolic rhythms when he receives a call about a case so seductively bewildering that the thought of not looking into it seems unimaginable—even if his beloved wife, Madeleine, would rather he do anything but.
The facts of what has occurred are horrible: a blushing bride, newly wed to an eminent psychiatrist and just minutes from hearing her congratulatory toast, is found decapitated, her head apparently severed by a machete. Though police investigators believe that a Mexican gardener killed the young woman in a fit of jealous fury, the victim’s mother—a chilly high-society beauty—is having none of it. Reluctantly drawn in, Dave is quickly buffeted by a series of revelations that transform the bizarrely monstrous into the monstrously bizarre.
Underneath it all may exist one of the darkest criminal schemes imaginable. And as Gurney begins deciphering its grotesque outlines, some of his most cherished assumptions about himself are challenged, causing him to stare into an abyss so deep that it threatens to swallow not just him, but Madeleine, too.
The first book in the Dave Gurney series, Think of a Number is a heart-pounding game of cat and mouse that grows relentlessly darker and more frightening as its pace accelerates
Threatening letters arrive in the mail over a period of weeks, ending with a simple declaration: “Think of any number . . . picture it . . . now see how well I know your secrets.” Those who comply find that the letter writer has predicted their random choice exactly. But when oddities that begin as a diverting puzzle quickly ignite into a massive serial murder investigation, police are confronted with a baffling killer, one who is fond of rhymes filled with threats and warnings, whose attention to detail is unprecedented, and who has an uncanny knack for disappearing into thin air.
Brought in as an investigative consultant, Dave Gurney, a recently retired NYPD homicide investigator, soon accomplishes deductive breakthroughs that leave local police in awe. Yet, even as he matches wits with his seemingly clairvoyant opponent, Gurney’s tragedy-marred past rises up to haunt him, his marriage approaches a dangerous precipice, and he wonders if he’s met an adversary who can’t be stopped.
A work that defies easy labels—at once a propulsive masterpiece of suspense and an absorbing immersion in the lives of characters so real we seem to hear their heartbeats—Think of a Number is a novel you’ll not soon forget.