Review: Peter Pan Must Die


In John Verdon’s most sensationally twisty novel yet, ingenious puzzle solver Dave Gurney brings his analytical brilliance to a shocking murder that couldn’t have been committed the way the police say it was.

The daunting task that confronts Gurney, once the NYPD’s top homicide cop: determining the guilt or innocence of a woman already convicted of shooting her charismatic politician husband — who was felled by a rifle bullet to the brain while delivering the eulogy at his own mother’s funeral.  

Peeling back the layers, Gurney quickly finds himself waging a dangerous battle of wits with a thoroughly corrupt investigator, a disturbingly cordial mob boss, a gorgeous young temptress, and a bizarre assassin whose child-like appearance has earned him the nickname Peter Pan.

Startling twists and turns occur in rapid-fire sequence, and soon Gurney is locked inside one of the darkest cases of his career – one in which multiple murders are merely the deceptive surface under which rests a scaffolding of pure evil.  Beneath the tangle of poisonous lies, Gurney discovers that the truth is more shocking than anyone had imagined.
And the identity of the villain at the mystery’s center turns out to be the biggest shock of all.


John Verdon is surprisingly, not a member of the law enforcement community, nor is he a member of the legal community, private detective community or any other to do with solving crime. But he is certainly a man who deserves to be respected for what he has brought to the genre. And he has paid respects to the above communities in this novel, and he has shown respect for the genre as well.


This is my first Dave Gurney novel. Apparently I have a thing for coming into series in the middle, or near the end, because I didn’t even realize it until part way through. However that didn’t give me any reason to not appreciate the characters.

Gurney is the classic detective, slightly grizzled by cases and his own tragic past he is simply someone who doesn’t know how to let things go.

Hardwick is amusing to me, because of how rough and tumble he is but he is nonetheless one of my favourite parts of this novel.

The Procedure and Process of Solving a Crime and the Mystery Itself

This book was so well crated in a procedural way. The crime at the beginning was quite interesting, and as the novel unfolded, and the detective’s process for solving it was definitely interesting. It was not overly flashy, as some crime novels are but instead reminded me of a classic, procedural mystery.

At no point during this book, like other mystery books did I think, “Wow this is hokey.” Or “Oh god, did they really just say that?”

The crime was actually a relatively simple one. Or so it seemed, but the ending was a real kicker.

And the criminal was the type you hear about in real life but truly wish that you hadn’t, as he is definitely the fodder of nightmares.


This is one solid novel, and while more procedural than gripping at times, the last half of the book had me turning the digital pages quickly, wanting to know what would happen. I craved a triumphal ending, wanting to know if they would catch the killer, and if they did how they would manage it.

This book however still managed to be character driven, with the relationships at the heart of the novel hitting their highs and lows. A man and his wife, a man and his son. There is even a thread of sibling rivalry going on, something plenty of people can identify with, but this rivalry is on steroids.

It was a wonderful read, however for those who do not appreciate procedural books I can understand why you might not like it. However I loved it.

I will definitely turn to the other novels.

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