The Complete Game Master Trilogy
by Timothy R. Bartlett
Westwood Books Publishing LLC

"'Now I’m beginning to see a clearer picture. All I need now are a couple of more pieces before this puzzle is completely finished!'"

Noah Oscar Body displayed a penchant for solving puzzles, riddles, and games from a very young age. His inquisitive intellect and cunning strategy led to his acquiring the nickname of The Game Master or GM for short. While his brains make him something of an outsider for his rapid development and different interests, he maintains a close inner circle of family, friends, actors, and associates that he can trust. This collected trilogy of novels follows Noah from his early days to the formation of his family, centered around three thrilling adventures that take place in succession. Each of them requires Noah to use his lateral thinking and love for cracking codes to protect himself and get a leg up on the people who either want his riches or pose a threat to his continued existence.

In the first novel, The Games People Play!, we see Noah as a young man dealing with bullying at home and at school while investing wisely in the stock market and becoming an underage millionaire. His successes eventually lead to a plot to frame Noah for raping his girlfriend in order to make him an eligible bachelor for the scheming Sylvia Winch, a.k.a. The Mastermind. Though Sylvia ends up being Noah’s wife, Noah tries to stay ten steps ahead of her to keep her from having any of his money. The second adventure, The Cryptic Will, finds Noah on his own again, roaming the country and finding himself in the sleepy town of Artichoke. A series of murders, a haunted mansion, and an unsolved murder over a century old all require his keen mind to solve before he becomes the mysterious assassin’s next target. The final novel in the trilogy, The Circular Motion, has Noah reunited with the two major loves of his life in northern California. The discovery of a lost smuggling ship’s storehouse promises untold riches, but a man bent on revenge is hot on the trail of Noah’s requited companion and threatens to kill her after a cross-country goose chase.

The Game Master represents a Sherlock Holmes-type figure, whose accessible demeanor and photographic memory make him an ideal cure for the troubles of whatever community he finds himself a part of. Readers keen to solve the mysteries before Noah spells it out not only have the narrative to go off of but the very same clues at times. Sprinkled throughout these three stories are various types of puzzles and brainteasers such as crosswords, cryptograms, and riddles that, if solved, will reveal their secrets before the end of the tale. Less enterprising readers won’t be left in the cold, however, as answers to each test are located in the back of the book, and the stories themselves lay everything out before the final chapter of each story.

Each book stands on its own, but there is an overarching plot primarily in the first and third stories. The adventures are largely lighthearted and focus more on the “treasure hunting” than the dangerous elements, but there are some violent and disturbing elements that should be kept from younger or more sensitive readers. There is a strong sense of community and small-town life captured in the quieter moments of these books, and the well-defined characters fill the pages wonderfully in environments where everybody knows each other. Noah’s travels, which make him a newcomer to each area, provide a perfectly paced exposition for readers, giving them a long list of potential allies and suspects in every whodunit. For those that like a fun mystery that gets its hands dirty with danger, this trilogy offers plenty of excitement and the opportunity to exercise the brain at the same time.

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