Sunday, August 01, 2010

Book review: Think of a Number

It's a murder investigation, one that starts before the victim is killed. Mark Mellery a transformed man, from a-living-a-high-life stock broker to a spiritual guru, calls his buddy from twenty-five years ago, Dave Gurney, a retired NYPD detective to let him in on a personal problem.
Mellery has received a hand written note in red ink. The note reads, I know you well enough to know what you are thinking. Think of a number! And open the second envelope!
How could the author of the mail have known the number Mellery was thinking?
Shocked, baffled, scared Mellery, does as he is told. He sends him $289.87 check to X. Arybdis. That's how much it cost Arybdis to find him.
It gets more complicated when the second mail arrives; a poem:

How many bright angles
can dance on a pin?
How many hopes drown in a bottle of gin?
Did the thought ever come
that your glass was a gun
and one day you'd wonder,
God, what have I done?

What you took you will give
when you get what you gave.
I know what you think,
when you blink,
where you've been,
where you'll be.
You and I have a date,
Mr. 658.

And then Mellery is killed; stabbed in the throat with a bottle of Whisky. And within a few days two more murders, one in Flounder Beach, Bronx and the other one in ...

What's the connection between these geographically dispersed murders?

That's what Dave Gurney is so intrigued to find out. Except for, this puzzle has caught him at a turning point in his personal life. He and his wife have recently moved to the Catskill region, Upstate New York, to resolve memories of past horrible incident, to reconnect with nature and with each other.

If you are interested in deciphering human actions through psychology, this book is going to be a joy for you to read.

This is a great debut novel by John Verdon. I am looking forward to a sequel!

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