John Verdon has just released Peter Pan Must Die, the fourth book in his Dave Gurney series. I've been a fan from Verdon's first release, Think of a Number.
Dave Gurney is a retired NYPD homicide detective, who had one of the highest clear rates in the department. Now, he and his wife Madeleine have moved to the country. Madeleine has embraced the change, but Dave can't seem to let his past life go. He's been approached over the past few years to help solve the unsolvable. He can't seem to say no, despite the danger that pursuing answers brings to his doorstep.
Jack Hardwick (another recurring character) has left law enforcement to hang out his shingle as a private detective. His fledgling case is that of a woman already convicted of murdering her husband. He's been hired to re investigate the case - and he wants Dave's help. Dave agrees to have a look, but doesn't commit until...
"It was little more that the clicking together of the first two pieces of a five-hundred-piece puzzle, but it felt good. A click was a click. And the first click had a special power."
Sometimes a crime series has characters or plot as its strength. In Verdon's case, its both. Dave Gurney is a wonderful character. His puzzle solving skills, his reasoning and his careful, analytical mind make solving case along side of him great reading. It is intriguing to follow along with his thought processes as he links together seemingly disparate incidents and clues. But this character is not one dimensional. Instead Verdon also explores Gurney's psyche and the reasons he constantly puts himself in danger. This drive for answers also exposes his loved ones to danger, especially Madeleine. I've come to appreciate Dave as a person more over the course of the last three books. But, I have to say that I really, really enjoy Madeleine. Her view of life, her intelligence, her joy in everything she she sees and does makes her my favourite. The relationship between her and Dave has been explored further with every entry in this series and is as much of interest to this reader as the cases. As Dave says:
" Our minds work differently. I get into something and just sort of stay in it. Madeleine has a way of changing her focus, of paying total attention to whatever's in front of her - adapting to the moment. She's always present, if you know what I mean."
Verdon does a spectacular job with his plotting. Where you think the story will go is turned around several times over the course of the book. A few plot devices seemed a bit far fetched, but didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book.
I quite enjoy this series and will be watching for number five. You could read any of the books as a stand alone, but I bet you'll be hunting down the other three!
Read an excerpt of Peter Pan Must Die. You can find John Verdon on Facebook.