A Review from my Commute · Book Review

A REVIEW FROM MY COMMUTE: Think of a Numb3r – John Verdon

Okay so what happens to the audiobooks I can’t finish?

I return them to the library and think of how to best portray what I actually did listen to. This is going to be one of those reviews and admittedly there are a few that are going to end up like this. The reason could be something as simple as the voice of the reader just didn’t gel with me or I didn’t find the story itself particularly interesting. 

One of those books is Think of a Numb3r by John Verdon. Based on the reviews, it seems to have been a great read for many. Here’s the synopsis so you can see why I was first interested in reading it…

ThinkofaNumberAn 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.
 
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.

I really wanted to give this audiobook a chance. The synopsis sounded interesting as you can tell from this post but when I got into it, the word choices of the author seemed strained to me, almost as if he searched a thesaurus to suss out the $100 dollar words when a $5 word would have worked just as well. In the audiobook treatment this doesn’t translate well — trust me, you don’t really want to have to think about what each word means as you listen. You just want to sit back and enjoy the story as it unfolds. This will be a book I will likely read instead of listen to, but I had to give up when I found myself concentrating more on the story to be sure I didn’t miss an important word than the road around me.

Rating: DNF (yet)

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