Review By Kayleigh

This is an action packed story perfect for fans of Dan Brown and Steve Berry.

Favourite Quote:

It hurt to stand. He leaned against his wrecked truck, dizzy. There was a burning sensation above his left eyebrow and, when he touched his cheek, blood streaked his fingers. Brink looked at the shattered windshield and felt something break inside, some point of balance between the man he’d been and the one he’d become. There was no going back now.

Just then he heard a familiar whimper. Across the road, Cam pulled Conundrum from the trunk of the Tesla by the leash, dangling her by the throat. Connie kicked and struggled, her whimpers growing desperate as she gasped for air. Brink ran to her, impervious to the pain he’d felt a second before, but just as he reached for his dog, Cam dodged him. Rage exploded through Brink, leaving him trembling. Cam could do what he wanted to him, but he was going to leave Connie alone. 

Goodreads Synopsis: 

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.

This was one fun book! There’s murder, demons, religious prophecies, brilliant geniuses and evil masterminds. What more could you want? I haven’t read a book by Danielle in a while (I was obsessed with Angelology when it was published in 2011). When I read the synopsis for this book, I was hooked. This book is fast paced and takes the reader on an action-packed couple of days with Mike Brink – an ex-football player who, after an injury, wakes up as a puzzle genius. One of my favorite parts of the story was seeing how Mike’s brain, how he saw patterns, and how his day job of making puzzles for the New York Times worked. It was a cool little insight into a job I never really thought about. I also liked that he had a bit of an offbeat job instead of being a professor or something like that which you would expect from someone with his capability. 

Of course, this story isn’t just about puzzles. Rather, Mike gets called into a prison to help solve a mystery about a prisoner. Without knowing, he sets off a series of events that almost leads to his death and uncovers some ancient religious mysteries that have been hidden for a long time. Along the way, he stumbles across some other people who also want to know the answers and have their own reasons why, and the money and weapons to get what they want. I felt like I was constantly guessing if the people who ran into him (some literally) were there to help or harm him. It kept me on the edge of my seat.

I loved how fast paced this book was. A lot happens very quickly. Like any action movie, there’s a lot of convenient things that happen at times to help the plot along. Does some of it seem super surreal or very unlikely? (there’s a mix of quantum science, obscure mathematical puzzles and demons mixed with doll making). Yes. But I’m not reading this book as an historically accurate tome. I’m reading it to enjoy the story.  I believe there could be a second book after this, and there’s definitely a cliffhanger at the ending, so I hope that’s correct. I’d love to read more about Mike and his adorable dog, Conundrum (spoiler alert: Conundrum does not get hurt in the story – this is no John Wick movie). 

I absolutely enjoyed this book and now want to dive back into Danielle’s back list and revisit some favourites I haven’t read in a while. This is the perfect book to keep you entertained for a weekend – and you may never look at the puzzle section of a newspaper the same again. 

Thank you, Random House, for the ARC in return for an honest review.