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Let the Devil Sleep (Dave Gurney, No. 3)

Cover of Let the Devil Sleep (Dave Gurney, No. 3)

Let the Devil Sleep (Dave Gurney, No. 3)

A Novel

In this latest novel from bestselling author John Verdon, ingenious puzzle solver Dave Gurney puts under the magnifying glass a notorious serial murder case -- one whose motives have been enshrined as law-enforcement dogma - and discovers that everyone has it wrong.

The most decorated homicide detective in NYPD history, Dave Gurney is still trying to adjust to his life of quasi-retirement in upstate New York when a young woman who is producing a documentary on a notorious murder spree seeks his counsel. Soon after, Gurney begins feeling threatened: a razor-sharp hunting arrow lands in his yard, and he narrowly escapes serious injury in a booby-trapped basement. As things grow more bizarre, he finds himself reexamining the case of The Good Shepherd, which ten years before involved a series of roadside shootings and a rage-against-the-rich manifesto. The killings ceased, and a cult of analysis grew up around the case with a consensus opinion that no one would dream of challenging -- no one, that is, but Dave Gurney.

Mocked even by some who'd been his supporters in previous investigations, Dave realizes that the killer is too clever to ever be found. The only gambit that may make sense is also the most dangerous -- to make himself a target and get the killer to come to him.

To survive, Gurney must rely on three allies: his beloved wife Madeleine, impressively intuitive and a beacon of light in the gathering darkness; his de-facto investigative "partner" Jack Hardwick, always ready to spit in authority's face but wily when it counts; and his son Kyle, who has come back into Gurney's life with surprising force, love and loyalty.

Displaying all the hallmarks for which the Dave Gurney series is lauded -- well-etched characters, deft black humor, and ingenious deduction that ends in a climactic showdown -- Let the Devil Sleep is something more: a reminder of the power of self-belief in a world that contains too little of it.

From the Hardcover edition.

In this latest novel from bestselling author John Verdon, ingenious puzzle solver Dave Gurney puts under the magnifying glass a notorious serial murder case -- one whose motives have been enshrined as law-enforcement dogma - and discovers that everyone has it wrong.

The most decorated homicide detective in NYPD history, Dave Gurney is still trying to adjust to his life of quasi-retirement in upstate New York when a young woman who is producing a documentary on a notorious murder spree seeks his counsel. Soon after, Gurney begins feeling threatened: a razor-sharp hunting arrow lands in his yard, and he narrowly escapes serious injury in a booby-trapped basement. As things grow more bizarre, he finds himself reexamining the case of The Good Shepherd, which ten years before involved a series of roadside shootings and a rage-against-the-rich manifesto. The killings ceased, and a cult of analysis grew up around the case with a consensus opinion that no one would dream of challenging -- no one, that is, but Dave Gurney.

Mocked even by some who'd been his supporters in previous investigations, Dave realizes that the killer is too clever to ever be found. The only gambit that may make sense is also the most dangerous -- to make himself a target and get the killer to come to him.

To survive, Gurney must rely on three allies: his beloved wife Madeleine, impressively intuitive and a beacon of light in the gathering darkness; his de-facto investigative "partner" Jack Hardwick, always ready to spit in authority's face but wily when it counts; and his son Kyle, who has come back into Gurney's life with surprising force, love and loyalty.

Displaying all the hallmarks for which the Dave Gurney series is lauded -- well-etched characters, deft black humor, and ingenious deduction that ends in a climactic showdown -- Let the Devil Sleep is something more: a reminder of the power of self-belief in a world that contains too little of it.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter 1

    Spring

    The French doors were open.

    From where Dave Gurney was standing by the breakfast table, he could see that the last patches of winter snow, like reluctant glaciers, had receded from the open pasture and survived now only in the more recessed and shadowed places in the surrounding woods.

    The mixed fragrances of the newly exposed earth and the previous summer's unmowed hay drifted into the big farmhouse kitchen. These were smells that once had the power to enthrall him. Now they barely touched him.

    "You should step outside," said Madeleine from where she stood at the sink, washing out her cereal bowl. "Step out into the sun. It's quite glorious."

    "Yes, I can see that," he said, not moving.

    "Sit and have your coffee in one of the Adirondack chairs," she said, setting the bowl down in the drying rack on the countertop. "You could use some sun."

    "Hmm." He nodded meaninglessly and took another sip from the mug he was holding. "Is this the same coffee we've been using?"

    "What's wrong with it?"

    "I ­didn't say anything was wrong with it."

    "Yes, it's the same coffee."

    He sighed. "I think I'm getting a cold. Last couple of days, things ­haven't had much taste."

    She rested her hands on the edge of the sink island and looked at him. "You need to get out more. You need to do something."

    "Right."

    "I mean it. You can't just sit in the house and stare at the wall all day. It will make you sick. It is making you sick. Of course nothing tastes like anything. Have you called Connie Clarke back?"

    "I will."

    "When?"

    "When I feel like it."

    He ­didn't think it was a feeling he was likely to have in the foreseeable future. ­That's just the way he was these ­days--­the way he'd been for the past six months. It was as though, after the injuries he'd suffered at the end of the bizarre Jillian Perry murder case, he had withdrawn from everything connected with normal ­life--­daily tasks, planning, people, phone calls, commitments of any kind. He'd gotten to the point where he liked nothing better than a blank calendar page for the coming ­month--­no appointments, no promises. He'd come to equate withdrawal with freedom.

    At the same time, he had the objectivity to know that what was happening to him ­wasn't good, that there was no peace in his freedom. His predominant feeling was hostility, not serenity.

    To some extent he understood the strange entropy that was unwinding the fabric of his life and isolating him. Or at least he could list what he believed to be its causes. Near the top of the list he'd place the tinnitus he'd been experiencing since he emerged from his coma. In all likelihood it had actually begun two weeks before that, when three shots were fired at him in a small room at nearly ­point-­blank range.

    The persistent sound in his ears (which the ear, nose, and throat specialist had explained ­wasn't a "sound" at all but rather a neural anomaly that the brain misinterpreted as sound) was hard to describe. The pitch was high, the volume low, the timbre like a softly hissed musical note. The phenomenon was fairly common among rock musicians and combat veterans, was anatomically mysterious, and, apart from occasional cases of spontaneous remission, was generally incurable. "Frankly, Detective Gurney," the doctor had concluded, "considering what you've been through, considering the trauma and the coma, ending up with a mild ringing in your ears is a damn lucky outcome."

    It ­wasn't a conclusion Dave could argue with. But it ­hadn't made it any easier for him to adjust to the...

About the Author-
  • JOHN VERDON is a former Manhattan advertising executive who lives with his wife in the mountains of upstate New York. His first two Dave Gurney novels, Think of a Number and Shut Your Eyes Tight, are both international bestsellers.

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    Crown Publishing Group
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