John Verdon. Crown, $25 (448p). Mystery/suspense
Once again, John Verdon takes us on a puzzle-solving journey with retired NYPD Detective, Dave Gurney. Gurney is a celebrated ex-cop, applauded for solving multiple high-profile murders. After retirement, he moves to upstate New York with his wife, Madeleine, to lead a peaceful life — to no avail. Dave Gurney finds himself dragged into another murder investigation, and his brilliant puzzle solving analytic skills will be, once again, put to the test.
During his mother’s funeral, rising political star Carl Spalter is assassinated. His wife, Kay, is convicted for the murder. One of Dave’s acquaintances learns that the crime evidence was tampered, and brings Gurney on board to solve the mystery. Gurney quickly finds himself absorbed by the case and his relentless search for justice. Along the way, Gurney meets the victim’s daughter and brother, whose testimonies lead him to question Carl’s true political motives. Gurney’s search for the truth doesn’t leave anyone undisturbed; he comes face to face with a corrupt investigator, a Greek mob boss, and an assassin, going by the name of Peter Pan. Every time Gurney answers a question, a new one arises.
Why we love it: After four books, we still love following the life and evolution of Dave Gurney. Verdon’s portrayal of the protagonist is brilliant; the reader works to decipher the clues at the same time as the protagonist. Besides Dave Gurney, however, the other characters were in desperate need of further development. The over-the-top characteristics leave the reader unsympathetic and unmoved.
Despite the lack of character depth, Peter Pan Must Die is a thrilling read. The rhythm of the novel keeps you on the edge until the last pages–John Verdon has done it again.
About the author: John Verdon formerly worked in advertising and now lives in upstate New York. Peter Pan Must Die is his fourth novel, after Think Of A Number, Shut Your Eyes Tight, and Let The Devil Sleep.
– Marine Bigand