Sunday, November 19, 2023

Review: The Puzzle Master by Danielle Trussoni

Author: Danielle Trussoni
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: June 2023

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.

The Puzzle Master  features Mike who has the ability to solve most if not all puzzles due to a brain injury.  He is asked by a psychiatrist to interview a woman convicted of murder. She hasn't spoken since her conviction and has has left a puzzle that no one can solve. I was really looking forward to reading this book.  The premise looked intriguing.  I'm a fan of puzzles and mysteries. Sadly, I ended up disappointed.

I was liking the book for the first 1/4 of the book. But the last 3/4 was dull, confusing and made no sense.  I felt like the author didn't exactly know what kind of book it was supposed to be, so she threw everything in and stirred. What came out was unfocused and a mess. The solution to the puzzle was laughable and made no sense.  I literally rolled my eyes.  I really don't have much else to say.  I disliked the plot so much that not even the characters could redeem the book.  I honestly wouldn't recommend this one.

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