John Verdon Books In Order

Publication Order of Dave Gurney Books

Think of a Number (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Shut Your Eyes Tight (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Let the Devil Sleep (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Peter Pan Must Die (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

John Verdon held several executive positions with Manhattan advertising firms before relocating with his wife to rural upstate New York. Think of a Number, his first novel, reached incredible proportions, selling more than $1 million in international sales with 27 foreign publishers purchasing book rights. The book landed on several bestseller lists. His other novels, Shut Your Eyes Tight and Let The Devil Sleep are both international bestsellers.

As a child, born in New York City, John Verdon always longed to be somewhere else, have something else, and also be someone who he was not but wanted to be. He always had dreams and ambitions that needed to be fulfilled in another place altogether. And John Verdon yearned for that change. For him, the present was a place to escape from.

He went to college, worked as a stuntman in a theme park, devoted himself obsessively to martial arts, tried to develop an interest in sports cars and motorcycles, but none of that really helped in bringing about the change he longed for. This truth about him tells us that he always knew he wanted to be a writer, even though he didn’t realize it at the time. He wanted to be a writer, but he also wanted to make a living, which is why he became an advertising writer. And he worked really hard to get all the promotions that he thought he wanted and that is exactly what he got. Up to a point where he started to feel like he was stuck in a job that had very little to do with anything he was good at.

So he finally quit his advertising job to do something completely different. He wanted to achieve those dreams he had always yearned to fulfill. The dream of chasing something on the far horizon. He studied woodworking and started building Shaker-style furniture, a profession he indulged in for ten years of his life. He also got a commercial pilot’s license, as an alternate route to the horizon.

The moment he stopped wanting and looking to be somewhere else, for the first time in his life, was exactly when he felt wonderful, in that moment and in that place. When his wife left her teaching job in New York City, they moved to the country. It was a beautiful part of the western Catskill mountains. It was in this place and that moment of his life that he finally stopped looking into the future for some sort of a magical kingdom. The sweet, peaceful world he found in those mountains was what he had always been dreaming of.

After he made the move to the country, he began reading a lot, mostly mysteries. Just about that time he realized that he truly loved classic detective stories, in all their varieties from Conan Doyle to Ross Macdonald to Reginald Hill. He was pretty fascinated by the form of a mystery itself, the mechanics of constructing the hidden crime and gradually exposing it. He talked about it to his wife all the time. And just a simple suggestion from her about writing a mystery novel himself gave him the push he needed. Despite the fear of failure and the other various drawbacks that come along with writing your own first novel, he decided to try it. The result, two years later, was Think of a Number.

Think of a Number is a fast moving, cinematic-style thriller. It’s an old-fashioned morality play in which a retired detective, David Gurney, who is considered to be the most brilliant crime solver that ever worked for the New York Police Department, must come out of retirement when he’s asked by the county district attorney to serve as a special investigator on a serial killer case, where he has to battle with an all too clever mean-hearted outlaw. Detective Gurney engages the enemy, a modern devil while understanding that in the gritty field of criminal justice there are no final victories.

He has written 3 other books, one of which has become another international bestseller that is translated into more than 20 languages. It’s called Shut Your Eyes Tight. In this book, a year has passed and Gurney is trying to make a go at retirement. And it comes as no surprise that, despite living in rural upstate New York, he doesn’t entirely get the country and nature, something that his wife loves. So when Jack Hardwick, Gurney’s former law enforcement colleague, comes back into his life with a new case, he gets intrigued. The plot twists are as perplexing as they seem irrational and nerve wrecking. In this novel, there is a constant underlying tension between Gurney and his wife, since she passively resists his involvement in the investigation. Reading this novel is like trying to find your way out of a giant maze but repeatedly taking a turn that only leads you further from the exit.

The books’ subsequent success in the marketplace, as well as with critics, persuaded him to write featuring the same central characters. His books are one of those rare novels that will make you smarter but give you nightmares. The reason why John Verdon writes thrillers is because he believes that mysteries are generally virtuous, not just because the good guy wins, but because the plot of the story, the core message and meaning tends to give more attention to the truth above anything else. He believes that one of the key elements that draws us towards reading a mystery novel is the connection between the story of the criminal mastermind and the story of his crime’s discovery. John Verdon’s stories are not just about the criminal and the crime, but also about the areas of resonance between them, which ultimately constitutes the final message of each story. He believes that the most satisfying novels are those that mirror life’s dangers and tragedies clearly, the risks we take, the painful collisions, the frightening unknowns, the hidden evils that enter every life, and provide reasonable resolutions. The tension and enigmatic situations created by John Verdon’s novels make them a definite nail-biter, and his writing skill might well cause him to become known as, “The Puzzle Master.”

Book Series In Order » Authors » John Verdon