Jennifer Osterman's Reviews > Think of a Number

Think of a Number by John Verdon
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's review
Aug 22, 2010

liked it

I love a good mystery. I grew up on Agatha Christie and Elizabeth Peters. When I watch "whodunit" TV shows with my husband, we place bets on who did it and why, and usually we've figured it out within the first 15 minutes of the show. Lately that's how I have felt while reading mystery books. However, while reading "Think of a Numb3r", I found my theories repeatedly disproved. This, and the puzzling nature of the "think of a number" puzzle, kept me very involved in this book. There was one puzzle in the book that I figured out right away, however, and then had to wait until quite late in the book to be vindicated. It made the middle third of the book quite frustrating for me, as I felt that Gurney should have figured it out much sooner.

Other reviewers have brought up some of the book's very real weaknesses: dialogue, the forgettable cliche characters, the strange preponderance of unresolved backstory (this is the first book in a series, I believe, so the author is leaving room for future development, I am sure...) and the fact that Gurney's wife only appears when she is a plot point. As this is the author's first novel, I will allow that future books may be stronger, and the strength of the mystery puzzle is such that I will definitely look for future books.

I received a review copy of this book from Crown Publishing's Read It Forward program.
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Dee Dee Walker I agree totally with your review. My only other thought is that I was very disapointed in the explination of the mysteries: the footprints in the snow, the "pychic" mind reading of numbers. Am I the only one who found the explinations overly simple?

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