Let the Devil Sleep (Dave Gurney #3) by John Verdon

I guess I joined the Dave Gurney series at volume three. I don’t think this was a disadvantage however. The story gave enough background that you could get the sense of this character without necessarily reading the other books. I enjoyed the book so much that I would not hesitate to recommend readers to pick up the other two.

I am still trying to put my finger on exactly what it is about this novel that has me thinking about it almost a week after finishing it. The main character, Dave Gurney, is a retired New York City detective that now lives upstate and is recovering from gunshot wounds received in the line of duty.

He is drawn into a support role for the daughter of an acquaintance who is currently working on a documentary about a serial murderer called “The Good Shepherd” who has been at large for the last ten years. The student who is producing this documentary has become embroiled with both a psycho ex-boyfriend and a tabloid driven television channel called RAM who made its reputation and fortune on 24 hour news coverage of the “The Good Shepherd” murders ten years earlier.

Unlike many detective/mystery/thriller novels, the twists and turns were so deftly executed that I was not able to pin down the “who done it” until it was revealed. Normally these things are so telegraphed by the last third of the novel that most readers can figure it out. There were plenty of options but still, the answer was not easily discerned.

There is a depth in the characters that was somehow different. I cannot put my finger on it but I can tell you that I would put the novel down to go to sleep and find myself picking it back up – sometimes after only a few hours of sleep- driven by a curiosity to finish this book.

There was one weakness that takes a star away from the rating. There were a few interesting story lines that were pursued in the course of the story that were wrapped up rather quickly and superficially at the end of the book. If the author was under pressure to limit pages, then I say shame on the editors. I think those story lines were worth more than the quick wrap up they got.

Overall, an entertaining novel with a certain indefinable something that I loved.


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