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If you have never read a John Verdon novel, you're in for a treat...BUT not with this one. Read one of his earlier novels instead (the first two are my favorite). Here, the character slips from likable to ludicrously irresponsible--for no apparent reason...and what''s even worse--since, after all, this is fiction--without the character's usual charm. (You'll wonder why Madeline doesn't hit him over the head with a shovel already.) The mystery itself is not great either. And the protagonist's usual sleuthing skills seem to falter. In fact, you'll probably figure out what happened way before he does. In former Verdon novels, the puzzles are impossible runic cubes that he magically assembles (making you see the reality from a totally different angle than you were expecting). Here it's more of a "hangman's knot." It was still 'entertaining' and perhaps I would not have felt so disappointed if I were not such a fan of this author. Hope the next one is better. I will definitely give him another chance. (The reader is the same reader as in the third in the series. He's good -- a million times better than Scott Brick, who read the second novel and was a horrible choice -- but not as good as the reader of the first novel, who was superb.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Okay, the ending's WAAAAAAY over the top. But John Verdon's created a killer villain and a complexly credible hero. And all of the threads are neatly plaited together in the end. Dave Gurney's all flawed up. And his home life's a rich stew that's on the verge of going as bad as his cases.
In fact, the tension between the Gurney's is as gripping as main plot. I wish Madeline Gurney stayed true to her character as chaos explodes. Still, this is a classic series that you should start with "Think Of A Number", the first in the series. Why have the flashbacks here ruin the plots of the three earlier Gurney novels?
Once again, Robert Fass makes this cast his own. It'd be difficult for me to imagine Gurney through another voice.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful