The Puzzle Master: A Novel (Hardcover)
June 2023 Indie Next List
“Danielle Trussoni has written a page turner that I’m so excited to share with readers! The combination of the world of puzzles with beautiful writing, suspense, and fascinating characters make this a novel I can’t stop thinking about.”
— Sue Kowalski, The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn, Glen Ellyn, IL
“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
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.
“The many irresistible elements in Danielle Trussoni’s The Puzzle Master include Mike Brink, a preternaturally brilliant man billed as ‘the most talented puzzleist in the world.’”—The New York Times
“[A] marvel . . . It has been some time since I read a novel I found as compelling as this one . . . ”—Mystery Tribune
“This immersive, brilliant book is a labyrinth of ciphers, cryptograms, logic puzzles, word puzzles, and a doozy of a conspiracy. Wouldn’t you like to experience a book so singular?”—The Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Danielle Trussoni melds a heady brew of genres—mystery, horror, supernatural, magical realism, ancient history, mysticism and plain old puzzles. . . .”—Oline H. Cogdill, The Sun Sentinel
“Utterly absorbing . . . The ‘master’ of the title isn’t the only master here. The word applies equally to the author of this fabulous novel.”—Justin Cronin, author of The Passage Trilogy
“My kind of thriller.”—Steve Berry, author of The Last Kingdom
“The Puzzle Master is a riveting, beautifully layered, fast-paced page-turner. You’ll want to clear your calendar for this one.”—Janelle Brown, author of Pretty Things
“An absolute gem of suspense, with a wholly original and unforgettable protagonist, a propulsive plot with diabolic twists, and pure reading pleasure on every page. I loved it.”—Chris Pavone, author of Two Nights in Lisbon
“The Puzzle Master is an ingenious literary thriller that combines everything I want in a book: an absolutely blistering Russian nesting doll of fascinating stories that 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) × gorgeous writing.”—Angie Kim, author of Miracle Creek
“Addictive and effervescent . . . A tantalizing and delightful read that engages both heart and mind.”—Jean Kwok, author of Searching for Sylvie Lee
“I am normally a jaded reader, but I could not put down this book. . . . Highly, highly recommended.”—Douglas Preston, co-author of Bloodless and The Cabinet of Curiosities
“A thrill ride through space and time. This novel is so original that I was happy to be taken wherever it led me!”—Lisa Scottoline, author of What Happened to the Bennetts
“A surefire hit . . . [The Puzzle Master] is an ambitious story, expertly told. . . . A sequel, The Puzzle Box, is in the works, and it can’t come soon enough.”—Booklist
“This page-turner incorporates motifs of religion, security, meaningfulness, and loss into a mystical narrative that traverses different centuries focused on the same puzzle quest.”—Library Journal
“Intriguing . . . Several subplots involve horror, mysticism, religious fantasy and, perhaps most importantly, dolls.”—Bookreporter
“[Trussoni] is at the top of her game . . . The Kabbalah meets the New York Times crossword in a brainy thriller.”—Kirkus Reviews