Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Audiobook Review: Think of a Numb3r (Dave Gurney, #1)

Think of a NumberAuthor: John Verdon
Narrator: George Newbern
Series: Dave Gurney, #1
Published: July 6th 2010
Publisher: Random House Audio
Lenght: 13 hrs and 30 mins
Buy: Audible

An extraordinary fiction debut, Think of a Number is an exquisitely plotted novel of suspense that grows relentlessly darker and more frightening as its pace accelerates, forcing its deeply troubled characters to moments of startling self-revelation.
Arriving in the mail over a period of weeks are taunting letters that end with a simple declaration: “Think of any number…picture it…now see how well I know your secrets.” Amazingly, 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.
What police are confronted with is a completely 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. Even more disturbing, the scale of his ambition seems to widen as events unfold.
Brought in as an investigative consultant, Dave Gurney 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 finally, a dark, cold fear builds that he’s met an adversary who can’t be stopped.
In the end, fighting to keep his bearings amid a whirlwind of menace and destruction, Gurney sees the truth of what he’s become – what we all become when guilty memories fester – and how his wife Madeleine’s clear-eyed advice may be the only answer that makes sense.
I’ve been successfully cured of my addiction to mysteries and thrillers year ago, but when Audible dangled this lovely carrot right in front of my nose in the form of their Audible daily deal, I simply couldn’t resist. John Verdon has been receiving a lot of praise from those far more familiar with the genre so of course I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Think of a Number starts off very strongly, with a seemingly unsolvable puzzle in front of our retired detective. Dave Gurney has been retired not too long ago, but he’s having a hard time adjusting to his new country life, feeling disconnected from his day to day obligations and his lovely, brilliant wife.

Dave and Madeleine don’t have an easy marriage and we can’t help feeling that it’s entirely his fault. He is a puzzle solver, a famous detective whose job defines him, but in his personal life he is prone to hiding from his problems and not facing things that are painful for him to deal with. Dave feels responsible for the loss of their 4-year-old son 15 years ago, and as hard as Madeleine tries, she can’t force him to deal with his pain and say goodbye.

The mystery is very well thought through, especially in the first half. The tiny inexplicable details make us doubt even the possibility of solving it. But as the story progresses and things start coming to light, Gurney is sometimes painfully slow on the uptake, which is a big source of frustration for the reader.

George Newbern is a fantastic narrator, his voice well suited for the calm and collected detective. His voice characterization is excellent and his sense of pacing practically flawless. I’m sorry to say that he doesn’t narrate other books in this series, which stopped me from buying Shut Your Eyes Tight in audio format.

Overall, though, this is a series worth continuing, despite the risk of falling back into my mystery addiction. The quiet emotionality of it, the complex and flawed characters and very impressive murder cases are all too alluring to pass up.


  1. I love it when an Audible Daily Deal works out! I was a mystery addict at one time as well and I do love to revisit the genre from time to time. It's too bad that Gurney was a little slow to clue in at times. I think this is where audio books can be irritating because instead of being able to speed read through those parts you have to endure the reading. Sometimes I increase the speed of the narrator if I'm getting annoyed. Wonderful review, Maja! :)

  2. I like a good mystery thriller but I don't know this one, so I'm glad to see you had a good time with it.I don't think I would try an audiobook it's too long and I'm still trying to finish the one I started lol. I'm not that patient.

  3. So glad you found a good mystery, they really can be harder to find than one thinks! Great review Maja!

  4. I like reading a good mystery from time to time as well and this one looks fantastic, especially since it doesn't sound too predictable. It's a shame about the slow pace though! That would be frustrating for me too!
    Great review, Maja! I'm glad you enjoyed this one. :)

  5. I don't think I can read too many mysteries in a row, but I definitely enjoy the odd one occasionally. This sounds good! Even if Gurney is slow to catch up at times. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Maja. :)

  6. Sounds like this one was a good read (listen) and makes me want to go back for a lil bit to reading a few more mysteries and detective stories! Great review, Maja!

  7. I'm so glad to see you back, I've missed you!

    I love the audible daily deals. For awhile I was checking regularly but now I've kind of got out of the routine and usually forget. It's okay though, I have several already I can catch up on.
    I've been in the mood for mysteries lately, though I've only read one so far this month. I'm glad you enjoyed!

  8. I can never resist a truly fantastic murder mystery, especially one with as much heart as this one seems to have. Plus, I'm always on the lookout for new audio narrators to fall in love with, so I think I'll try to find this one on audio for sure. Wonderful review, Maja! :)

  9. Oh this sounds so good. How did I miss it as the daily deal? I've been checking them. Darn it. Well, it's been on my list and I think I'll move it up. Might have to check out the narration instead of reading it... especially since you liked his reading so well. Brilly review!

  10. I definitely do enjoy a good mystery from time to time Maja, it seems like ages since I last read a decent one. I'm not normally one to read audio books though, but a decent narration is always a winner for me. Thanks for putting this book on my radar Maja!

  11. The good mystery and a likeable narrator sounds good.

  12. I usually avoid mysteries myself as usually they fail to be well, mysterious. So I'm so glad to hear about this one. It seems like it has a really nice mystery and I plot. I'm yet to get used to audiobooks, but one day I'll be ready for this story. Great review, Maja :)

  13. I find if I read mysteries rarely, I enjoy them much more because then I'm out of practice at guessing everything is so much more shocking!

  14. I love mystery/detective stories and I'm glad you liked this one. I haven't really tried "reading" a mystery novel in an audiobook format, but I think it would work well if the narrator is fantastic. Lovely review, Maja!

  15. I enjoy a good murder mystery and the idea of a killer capable of guessing your thoughts sounds very promising. It's too bad Gurney is a little slow on the uptake but I like that he's a flawed and complex character. I'll add this one to my wishlist, Maja, and hopefully can give it a try in the future.

  16. I would enjoy this Maja and so far UF, mysteries, thrillers and steampunk are the ones I am grabbing on audio. I missed this daily

  17. I think it's a healthy addiction to have, really. So much more so than other genres to get addicted to:) Random mysteries/thrillers are super satisfying to find. I wish the narrator of this one continued with the series. I hate when the narrator changes in an audio series. Blah.

    Also, hi.

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