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Peter Pan Must Die (Dave Gurney, No. 4): A Novel (A Dave Gurney Novel) Hardcover – July 1, 2014

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Peter Pan Must Die (Dave Gurney, No. 4): A Novel (A Dave Gurney Novel) + Let the Devil Sleep (Dave Gurney, No. 3): A Novel (A Dave Gurney Novel) + Think of a Number (Dave Gurney, No. 1): A Novel (A Dave Gurney Novel)
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Product Details

  • Series: A Dave Gurney Novel
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (July 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385348401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385348409
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Verdon hit the ground running with his debut novel (Think of a Number, 2010), and he hasn’t lost a step through three more fine thrillers. Here retired NYPD homicide detective Dave Gurney is asked to investigate what may be a cooked guilty verdict in the murder of real-estate tycoon and gubernatorial candidate Carl Spalter. He quickly finds evidence that will overturn the conviction and release Spalter’s wife from prison, but he also finds hints that the real culprit is a bizarre, almost-diabolical European assassin known as Peter Pan. Gurney concludes that the only way to stop the assassin is to become his next target. Verdon’s novels, now read in 20 languages, feature serpentine plots, heightening suspense, skillfully developed characters, and a rich sense of place. Peter Pan Must Die has all of these, but it adds realistic marital tension: Dave’s wife, Madeleine, wants Dave to stop risking his life and build a chicken coop, and Dave responds with some insightful introspection before returning to the work that truly animates him. Members of the singularly dysfunctional Spalter family are vividly rendered, and Peter Pan may well be the creepiest fictional psychopath of the year. Mix in bent cops, gangsters, politics, big money, lies, and hints of incest, and you have a wonderfully compelling page-turner. --Thomas Gaughan


“Verdon's plot devices are intelligently layered in "Peter Pan Must Die." The denouement is one of the most unusual in crime fiction, and yet is perfectly logical. Verdon's cleverness again shines in "Peter Pan Must Die." – Associated Press

“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.” – Downtown Magazine

“This case is the most perplexing novel Verdon has crafted to date…Readers who love a good whodunnit will be stunned as to who is really behind the murder of Carl Spalter.” – Florida Times-Union

“Stellar…The plot is full of Verdon’s usual challenges (e.g., it was apparently impossible for the murder to have been carried out), but the cleverness is surpassed by the probing analysis of what makes Gurney tick.”
--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

More Praise for John Verdon

“It’s always a pleasure to watch a keen mind absorbed in a difficult puzzle, which is how Dave Gurney distinguishes himself in John Verdon’s tricky whodunits.”--New York Times
“A masterful bit of writing that builds to a surprising and satisfying climax. The tension and enigmatic situations created en route to the conclusion make this book a definite nail-biter. John Verdon’s writing skill might well cause him to become known as ‘The Puzzle Master.’”-New York Journal of Books
“A razor-sharp serial killer thriller… The tension is palpable on virtually every page of a story that perfectly balances the protagonist’s complex inner life with an elaborately constructed puzzle.”--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Taut and suspenseful…Verdon is in top form as he lays out the twisty mechanics of the crime, creating an agreeably sinister villain.”--Washington Post

“The crime is grisly and the cop is complicated. A nice combination.”--New York Daily News

"Good writing and good storytelling often aren’t the same thing. Verdon combines them masterfully.” - Newark Star Ledger

 “Verdon is a master at controlling pace, illustrating the story of a rich but complicated marriage, pondering what it means to be sucked back into your life's work even if it might kill you, and demanding that the reader use his or her brain to figure out what comes next.”--Salon

Customer Reviews

A little tedious, too long and repetative dialogue to get to a weak climax.
Just me.
The writing is terrific, the action is fast-paced, the characters are well-developed.
Doc Joe
I thoroughly enjoy these books and look forward to each new one in the series.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Terence M. Hines on July 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
In terms of plot this is the best of the four Dave Gurney books. The mystery is a deep one and the author gives clues that will allow the reader to figure out the ending. But the clues are hidden and subtle. I admit that I missed several of them. So the ending was a surprise. But a very interesting one.
I really enjoyed the detective story part of the book. However, there's way too much psychobabble in this one. Gurney's wife, Madeleine, has become one of the most annoying characters in modern fiction. She buzzes through the story like an annoying mosquito one can't swat away, generally getting in the way and spouting vacuous psychobabble at every turn. She keeps trying to get Dave to go to a shrink to find out the deep hidden reason for his interest in investigating crimes. He ends up going and gets told "Nothing in life matters more than love". Just the kind of meaningless New Age crap Madeleine gushes over. Happily, said shrink has terminal cancer so we won't have to put up with his prattle in any future volume. Madeleine is the kind of annoying nitwit who would find that silly "Eat Prey Love" book "uplifting and profound." One can only hope that in the next Dave Gurney book (and I certainly hope there is one!) Madeleine is side-lined. Or rendered mute.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bobbewig TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I won't take your time providing a description of Peter Pan Must Die, as you can get this from the Book Description above. Rather, my review is to inform you of my opinion of the book, which, hopefully, will be of value in deciding if this book is one you'll want to read.

While Peter Pan Must Die has some interesting "page turning" moments and its share of murders, these, unfortunately, do not occur until well into the second half of this 448 page book. By this point, my interest had been steadily waning, and the subsequent suspense that did occur was not sufficient to rekindle my interest.

For me, Verdon's plodding writing, his uninteresting interactions between the main character -- Dave Gurney, a retired NYPD detective -- and his wife, and his somewhat stereotypical, cliched secondary characters ultimately became too much to allow me to recommend Peter Pan Must Die to any readers other than those who have been loyal fans of the first three books in this series. It's not that Peter Pan Must Die is a very bad book - I did finish it, after all. It's just that, in my opinion, there are many other mysteries/thrillers that would represent a better investment for your time and money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on July 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
John Verdon makes demands of his readers. You should not approach one of his Dave Gurney thrillers with the expectation of finishing it within a couple of hours. These books, of which PETER PAN MUST DIE is the latest, require attention on several levels. Verdon is not afraid to let Gurney wax wisdom, using his wife Madeleine, his ad hoc detective partner Jack Hardwick, or anyone within hailing distance as a sounding board as he gets from Point A to Point B during the course of approaching a tantalizing mystery that always seems to be unsolvable. Verdon demands much but gives back more. You walk away from the completion of one of his novels with more knowledge than you had when you first cracked the binding. Guaranteed.

PETER PAN MUST DIE is no exception. Gurney is a retired NYPD detective whose life with Madeleine in rural upstate New York is strangely (well, maybe not so strangely) unsatisfying. Once the department's top homicide investigator, Gurney continues to be drawn back into the hunt, exposing himself to danger along the way in spite of himself. Or maybe it's because of himself. That is one of the central issues that confronts Gurney in this book. The issue is indirectly raised when he receives a visit from Hardwick, who wants him to use his skills and talents as a murder conviction is unofficially reopened.

Kay Spalter has been convicted of murdering her husband, Carl, a charismatic politician who was killed by a sniper's bullet moments before he was supposed to give the eulogy at his mother's funeral. Katherine's attorney has hired Hardwick as a private investigator, and Hardwick wants to utilize Gurney's keen insight and analytical talents to take a fresh look at the evidence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rita @ My Home of Books on September 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Dave Gurney is back and mixed up in another murder mystery, despite being retired from the NYPD and living with his sharp-tongued wife, Madeleine, in the Catskill Mountains of upstate NY. His former coworker, who is now fired for his unprofessional conduct Jack Hardwick, visits and pulls Dave into an investigation of a woman accused of killing her politician husband in public. Hardwick is acting as a private investigator now and shares the file with Dave, who of course can not resist the lure of the cerebral solution to a murder case much to the dismay of his loyal wife, who just wants Dave to construct a coop for her pet chickens and leave the mayhem behind them. Soon they find out about a small, slim hired assassin nicknamed Peter Pan for his looks and ability to swoop in and kill and make a clean getaway as if flying.

Despite the cutesy title and unusual assassin, I was not in love with this latest Gurney outing. I loved the first book Think of a Number, maybe because the gimmick was new and fresh to me: a retired detective assisting with investigations by using his talent and brains to read the clues efficiently. I like Madeleine as the wife who got her husband to retire to her dream location, and still putters in volunteer work and dinners with friends, but expects her restless husband to be content in their rural town. Their give-and-take is fun to read and the characters are well-developed, but I just didn't buy this scenario. Now that his friend Hardwick is off the force, I suspect that Dave Gurney will be busy helping his friend as a P.I. consultant.

I probably will read the next book, but I wish that Mr.
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