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Reviewed by Caleb S.

Think of a Numb3r is John Verdon’s first book, and as far as firsts go, it’s a doosy. I was very impressed with the story and the writing, and Verdon captured my attention early on.

Dave Gurney is a retired police detective with minor celebrity status for solving and catching several serial killers. He has retired up into the Catskills with his wife, and has picked up photo manipulation of serial killers as a surprisingly lucrative pastime. Out of the blue, he receives an email from Mark, an old collage buddy he hasn’t seen since graduation, who has since become the founder of Mellery’s Institute for Spiritual Renewal.

Mark tells a tale of receiving a letter from a person claiming to know Mark so well he can read his mind, and who apparently does just that. He received several poetic missives, and each one is increasingly hostile and threatening. Mark is hoping that Dave can clear up the mystery without upsetting his clients. Dave is afraid he might do too little, too late.

Overall, I enjoyed Think of a Numb3r, and while at times I wanted to slap Dave upside the head when it came to dealing with [amazonify]0307588920[/amazonify]his personal life, all was within his character. There were only two aspects of the book which I found problematic. The first was a clue that was fairly obvious to me but I’ll forgive the author since I’m a computer/math person. Eventually the explanation everyone came up with was what occurred to me almost immediately.

The second, and more important, had to do with the hole in the plot. The cops did not follow up on a clue that to me was just screaming for attention. If they made even a half-hearted attempt I might have been distracted away from my suspect, but the clue was mostly ignored until it was the only one left. This didn’t ruin the book for me, I just think I would have enjoyed it even more had this second problem been hidden better. Despite some flaws, I am glad I had the chance to read Think of a Numb3r and I am eagerly awaiting (what I hope will be) the next installment.

Caleb is a software engineer and amature woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Crown Publishing. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.