Former advertising exec’s first novel generating buzz

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Former advertising exec’s first novel generating buzz

SYDNEY — When advertising executive John Verdon retired 15 years ago at the age of 53, he was looking forward to trying something new.

He first tried his hand at making furniture, but three years ago he branched out in a different direction once again and started to write a novel.

Little did Verdon realize that his debut book, a thriller called “Think of a Number,” would receive rave reviews and be translated into 19 languages. In fact, the book garnered $1 million in advance sales before its official release this month.

Verdon, now 68, wrote Think of a Number after he and his wife packed up their lives in New York City and moved to rural upstate New York — rather like his novel’s protagonist, retired NYPD homicide investigator Dave Gurney.

Gurney and his wife are starting out on a new life when letters start arriving to people in the mail that end with a simple declaration: “Think of any number ... picture it ... now see how well I know your secret.”

Those who comply find the letter writer has predicted their random choice exactly and the letters quickly ignite a massive serial murder investigation.

Reuters Life!
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