The Puzzle Master
by Danielle Trussoni
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Pub Date 13 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 31 Oct 2023
Random House Publishing Group - Random House, Random House
“This novel has it all and more. In the nimble, talented hands of Trussoni the pages fly.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci
A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, PopSugar, Bookreporter, CrimeReads
All the world is a puzzle, and Mike Brink—a celebrated and ingenious puzzle constructor—understands its patterns like no one else. Once a promising Midwestern football star, Brink was transformed by a traumatic brain injury that caused a rare medical condition: acquired savant syndrome. The injury left him with a mental superpower—he can solve puzzles in ways ordinary people can’t. But it also left him deeply isolated, unable to fully connect with other people.
Everything changes after Brink meets Jess Price, a woman serving thirty years in prison for murder who hasn’t spoken a word since her arrest five years before. When Price draws a perplexing puzzle, her psychiatrist believes it will explain her crime and calls Brink to solve it. What begins as a desire to crack an alluring cipher quickly morphs into an obsession with Price herself. She soon reveals that there is something more urgent, and more dangerous, behind her silence, thrusting Brink into a hunt for the truth.
The quest takes Brink through a series of interlocking enigmas, but the heart of the mystery is the God Puzzle, a cryptic ancient prayer circle created by the thirteenth-century Jewish mystic Abraham Abulafia. As Brink navigates a maze of clues, and his emotional entanglement with Price becomes more intense, he realizes that there are powerful forces at work that he cannot escape.
Ranging from an upstate New York women’s prison to nineteenth-century Prague to the secret rooms of the Pierpont Morgan Library, The Puzzle Master is a tantalizing, addictive thriller in which humankind, technology, and the future of the universe itself are at stake.
“[Trussoni] is at the top of her game in involving the reader in the puzzle-solving process, making the most of historic settings, including the Pierpont Morgan Library, and making the book's Da Vinci Code–like trappings pay off. The Kabbalah meets the New York Times crossword in a brainy thriller.”
“The Puzzle Master is a riveting tapestry of a novel. A beautifully layered, fast-paced page turner that’s also dense with history and lore. You’ll want to clear your calendar for this one.”
—Janelle Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Things
"An absolute gem of suspense, with a wholly original and unforgettable protagonist, a superb cast of idiosyncratic supporting characters, a propulsive plot with diabolic twists, and pure reading pleasure on every page. I loved it.”
—Chris Pavone, New York Times bestselling author of Two Nights in Lisbon
“The Puzzle Master is an ingenious literary thriller that combines everything I want in a book: immersive, exhilarating, intellectually provocative, unputdownable—an absolutely blistering Russian nesting doll of fascinating stories that unveil and dismantle some of the most deeply engrained ideas about good, evil, and the origins of humankind. In short: The Puzzle Master = (The Da Vinci Code + The Silent Patient + sprinkle of Stephen King) x gorgeous writing.”
—Angie Kim, bestselling author of Miracle Creek
“Danielle Trussoni's The Puzzle Master is so addictive and effervescent that you won't be able to put it down. Trussoni displays tremendous range, moving effortlessly from intricate puzzles to a traumatic murder to ancient secrets. A tantalizing and delightful read that engages both heart and mind.”
—Jean Kwok, author of Searching for Sylvie Lee
“The Puzzle Master is one of the most insanely compelling novels I’ve read in ages. This story has all the elements I love—dark histories, gothic settings, murder, vivid characters, and a twisty, unpredictable plot—all written in elegant and vigorous English. I am normally a jaded reader, but I could not put down this book. Highly, highly recommended.”
—Douglas Preston, New York Times bestselling co-author of Bloodless and The Cabinet of Curiosities
“I loved Danielle Trussoni’s The Puzzle Master, an erudite, super compelling mystery that I couldn’t put down. It’s the story of savant-level puzzle-solver Mike Brink, who’s called to a women’s prison to decipher a drawing that may unlock the secrets of convicted killer Jess Price. Brink falls under Price’s uncanny spell as soon as he meets her, launching a story that’s a thrill ride through space and time, love and hate, and even good and evil. This novel is so original that I was happy to be taken wherever she led me!”
—Lisa Scottoline, New York Times bestselling author of What Happened to the Bennetts