Cover Image: The Viper

The Viper

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Member Reviews

It has been some time since I've read John Verdon and happy that I did. I enjoyed the clever story and returning to a familiar characters.

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I have enjoyed each and every one of the books in the Dave Gurney series, and The Viper — the latest in this series — is no exception. Reading this newest addition is like seeing what old friends are up to. As usual, Dave Gurney, a retired NYPD homicide detective who now lives with his wife Madeline on a farm in upstate New York, gets involved in looking into a murder case which endangers both him and his wife. His ability to solve even the seemingly most complex of crimes is amazing and makes for an extremely interesting story. Additionally, the character development — especially that of Dave and Madeline — is this series is extremely well done, and the ending here is sort of a cliffhanger with respect to these two characters. All in all, this is a very good read. Although it can definitely be enjoyed as a standalone, reading the series in order is well worth it!

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The Viper by John Verdon is the latest entry in the Dave Gurney mystery series. Dave’s wife asks him to help a friend of hers by looking into the conviction of Ziko Slade. Ziko was found guilty of murdering a man who tried to blackmail him with a secret from his checkered past. As usual, Gurney gets way too involved and soon his life, and his wife’s, are in danger!
This is my absolute favorite series of books. Every book has a seemingly impossible mystery that Dave gets involved in. The setting of upstate New York plays a big role in all of these stories and the author describes it so beautifully. Dave’s personal life is always fragile and that is very apparent in The Viper. The end of the story is somewhat of a cliffhanger and I cannot wait for the next book!
Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

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The Viper – John Verdon

Ziko Slade, former tennis player and superstar sits behind bars for the murder of Lenny Lerman – a murder some don’t think he committed. The evidence is damning, the case apparently airtight…but did he really do it?

It’s late fall and winter is in the air in the Catskills of New York as Retired Detective Dave Gurney and his wife Madeline complete the days’ work on their outdoor patio and prepare for their dinner guest, Emma Martin, to arrive. She is coming to ask a favor of Dave. Will he look into the murder case of a person that may be innocent? Emma, his therapist, certainly thinks he is.

Mildly intrigued, Dave agrees to review the trial videos and see if anything seems amiss. At first, it seems like a slam duck case. The deceased was found on his property, the DNA linking him to the scene is irrefutable. A journal left behind by the victim details a planned attempt to blackmail Ziko - to the tune of a million dollars - for some salacious information to remain private. But was the case too much of a slam dunk? A visit to prison to visit the convicted murderer has Dave curious.

As Dave starts to do some digging, he enlists the help of his old buddy, Jack Hardwick, it quickly becomes apparent that some do not appreciate his interference, including the prosecuting attorney, Cam Stryker, and closer to home, his wife Maddie. As Dave continues digging, he begins to realize there’s much more to this case than meets the eye – and when an anonymous meeting ends in a car accident and a possible murder charge for Dave, he must hide from the authorities and find answers – fast…

This is another great read from John Verdon, although the ending left me a bit unsettled – a few things are in limbo, for which I now must anxiously await the next in the series. There’s more character development, with glimpses into Dave & Maddie’s personal life – which, to me anyway, has always seemed fraught with friction. I often wonder why the couple remains together – and as of the last page of this novel is turned – I wonder if they’ll overcome the distance between them. Easily read as a standalone, but the series is well worth the read!!

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley & C0unterpoint Press in exchange for an objective review. Do you love to read?? Visit and start reviewing books today!!

Blog to publish 7/14/23

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Verdon delivers again with another outstanding Dave Gurney novel. As usual, the villain is a worthy foe, as scary as any he’s created before. And just when I worried that things had become a bit repetitive in Gurney’s home life things get turned upside down.

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It has been a while since a read a John Verdon book and what a good time I had going back into his world and meeting those characters! Always fun!

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