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Dave Gurney Books In Order

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Publication Order of Dave Gurney Books

Think of a Number (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shut Your Eyes Tight (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Let the Devil Sleep (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Peter Pan Must Die (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wolf Lake (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
White River Burning (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
On Harrow Hill (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Viper (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Detective fiction is arguably the most popular genre today. It retains its appeal on many levels, as it is usually an action and adventure in a tussle between good and evil. In most of the works of detective fiction, there is usually a conflict between an amateur detective- often the hero- and the professional police investigator- especially regarding their perspectives on a particular occurrence. This is also the case with John Verdon’s works featuring a detective known as Dave Gurney.

Who is David Gurney?

Dave Gurney resides in Bronx and is a graduate of the Fordham University. He used to be a sleuth with the New York Police Department before retiring. He became a hero to millions owing to his ability to unravel various criminal mysteries. Dave Gurney is married, and he together with his wife moved Upstate to a beautiful, bracing countryside in Delaware County.

He is a creation of John Verdon. John Verdon also hails from Bronx and graduated from Fordham University. He worked in New York in the advertising field. John Verdon and the wife now reside in a beautiful and bracing countrywide in Delaware County. No wonder people often think that John Verdon is Dave Gurney. This countryside in Delaware County is the setting for the Gurney mysteries- together with Central New York and Southern Tier. Despite the geographical connection, Dave Gurney series books have become international best sellers.

John Verdon admits that some Gurney characteristics emanate from his history and personality: both are born in Bronx; they graduated from the same college; both had high-pressure careers in the city; and all of them moved to rural areas that are entirely different from where they were used to.

However, he quickly points out that despite the unmistakable connection, Dave Gurney has concerns that are completely peculiar to him. He is a homicide detective who has the steeliness and the confrontational ability that enables to perform his job. That helps John Verdon to understand the character well and write well about him- though John confesses that he can’t do what Dave Gurney does.

Understanding Dave Gurney

Dave Gurney is kind of impressive. But he has some glaring shortcomings. For example, him being a thinker, he sometimes doesn’t understand or he chooses to ignore the impact of his behavior on other people. Though he genuinely loves his wife, he can’t show it well enough for her to appreciate it- for example, he doesn’t get to spend enough time with her and he also doesn’t usually pay attention to the details of his wife’s life. The problem rears itself in a multitude of ways in their marriage- for example, he sometimes can’t remember where his wife said she’d go for the day though he never forgets even a minor detail of a crime scene. Therefore, Dave Gurney comes across as a person who tends to prioritize his work over his family and other personal relationships.

Always thinking, looking out to solve a puzzle, and searching for missing pieces in any story, the man is hardly ever at rest. His only comfort comes from a ruthless focus on getting answers to a riddle or puzzle. And even when he gets the answer, that doesn’t usually provide him relief, rather, it opens another puzzle, which will keep him engrossed further. He is addicted to pursuit and the process of discovering facts, piecing them together and getting answers to confounding mysteries.

Books in the Series

‘Think of a Number’ is the premiere volume in the series, and it was released in 2010. Here Dave is seen preparing for retirement and painting some portraits which he derived from mug shots of felons. The paintings, rather surprisingly, attract interest get the support of seasoned art collectors. It is obvious he is a bored outside his forte, which is crime investigation. He is not long into his retirement when a colleague from college, Mark Mellery, approaches him with a plea- to find out who has been issuing him with serious and nerve-wracking death-threats. Dave Gurney is a little hesitant at first to plunge into the world of private investigation. However, the threats result in a series of murders and Dave Gurney decides to use his amazing skills to unearth what is happening.

A year later, in 2011, another volume in the series was born. ‘Shut Your Eyes Tight’ is about the brutal beheading of a bride on her wedding day. Police investigators are clueless and hapless. Gurney’s enters with his skills, and as you can guess, Dave keeps the reader riveted. Here, even critics note rather approvingly, that Verdon has reintroduced an earlier popular way of writing crime fiction where readers can, by following the action with the protagonist, accurately deduce what is happening.

‘Shut Your Eyes Tight’ was followed by ‘Let the Devil Sleep’ where Gurney is taking interest in a case of cold murder. The killer calls himself the Good Shepherd, and Dave Gurney is invited to unearth who the man behind the pseudonym could be. Dave Gurney decides to help despite the fact he is recuperating from a bullet wound he got in the climax of ‘Shut Your Eyes Tight’. He acquiesces partly because he wants to help out a young woman whose college project that involves interviewing survivors of Good Shepherd is being turned into a TV series by a popular network. The woman is also the daughter of a New York Magazine reporter. Here Gurney overturns all earlier findings and assumptions of a case that detectives had already closed.

In the latest book in the series ‘Peter Pan Must Die’, Dave Gurney imports his analytical brilliance to a bizarre murder that couldn’t have been executed the same way the New York Police think it was committed. Here, Gurney wants to show that a woman, already convicted of the murder of her charismatic politician husband, is innocent. Gurney peels back the layers of assumptions and wittingly confronts a vicious group bent on derailing him. There are startling twists and turns that occur in this book, the reader will obviously be on the edge of his seat. Beneath the elaborate network of dangerous lies, Gurney discovers the truth- and it is even more shocking that what everyone had earlier imagine. The identity of the villain in the mystery turns out to be the greatest mystery of all.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Dave Gurney

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