I love a really good mystery with a lot plot twists and turns along with a few quirky characters thrown into the mix. In John Verdon's latest novel, Peter Pan Must Die, he delivers an intricate plot and flawed characters in spades.

Crown

I really enjoyed Verdon's main character, Dave Gurney. He describes himself as an introvert who comes to life when a puzzle needs to be solved. In fact, Jack Hardwick, a former state policeman turned PI who tries to convince Gurney to look into Kay Spalter's case says, ". . . And, Davey boy, whether you admit it or not, you know . . . that no cop ever had a sharper eye and ear for disconnects than you do. So that's the story. I want you on the team. Will you do this for me?" And so after some internal struggle, Gurney decides to assist Hardwick.

Gurney's inner turmoil not only allows the reader to understand his frame of reference but to see how detached his view of the world is from others. In other words, "his comfort zone did not include other people," as his college girlfriend, Geraldine, told him the day she left him. The reader begins to see Gurney as a flawed and complicated man.

The scene where I laughed the most is when Gurney arrives 49 minutes late to Madeleine's yoga club dinner party at their home. Dave forgets the name of one of the guests so he says, "Thanks, Scott." Gurney is corrected by the man and then he proceeds to explain why he called him by another name. At this point, the author gives us a little more insight into his character. "Gurney chose to think of this little lie as a gesture of social kindness. It was surely preferable to the truth, which was that he had no interest in the man and less than none in remembering his name." Who of us couldn't relate to this scene? Perhaps we have witnessed it by our spouse, a friend, or family member.

Naomi Fisch

John Verdon has a gift in taking the mundane and eliciting a response from the reader because we can identify with the situation. In addition, the elements of murder, intrigue and suspense propel the story to its climactic ending. I really appreciated the many ways the plot moved forward and yet I couldn't figure out who the killer was until I read the very last page. Feelings of shock, surprise, and dismay flooded through me as Verdon's novel, Peter Pan Must Die, concluded. Hence, in my opinion, this is one novel that should be on everyone's must-read list this summer.