Puzzlers rejoice, as this novel centers around an expert puzzle designer and solver being thrust into a finding a solution that involves ancient mysteries. Mike Brink, following a traumatic brain injury as a rising Midwest football star, emerges with a rare medical condition that enables him to see patterns and solve puzzles that elude everyone else. Brink’s busy creating puzzles for the New York Times and pretty much being a loner when he gets summoned to a prison in upstate New York where an murder convict, Jess Price, has created a complex puzzle that her psychiatrist believes might hold clues to why Jess has remained completely silent since her arrest and might help with her care.
Mike, intrigued, drives up to see the puzzle, but more puzzling still for him becomes powerfully drawn to Jess. He embarks on an increasingly dangerous quest, involving increasingly complex puzzles and a hunt for clues. With both Mike and Jess’s lives threatened, the tension mounts.
For me, the novel’s core “God Puzzle” does not work, as it’s completely entangled in religious myth and the Kabbalah, with ancient mystical forces at play and a creepy, Golem, come to life porcelain doll.
But the rest of the novel gets you hooked, from the mind-bending puzzle solving to the powerful romance building between Jess and Mike.
Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for an advanced reader’s copy.