Puzzleman, as the title suggest, is one puzzle of a novel. The narrative follows five people who, on the surface, seem to barely be connected to each other. But later on, not only are these relationships proven to be stronger than they initially appeared to be, but the central figure connecting them, Puzzleman, brings them together in a way which is the definition of mysterious.
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Christopher Alan Broadstone creates a world which could rival Hades’ underworld. It is difficult to describe but can be stated as a hell which is not exactly an afterlife.
The character design of Puzzleman is well-illustrated. If Broadstone’s Puzzleman was to be transitioned to the screen he would give Clive Barker, the creator of Pinhead, a run for his money.
Let’s get to the other individuals. Amanda is a sculpturer who is not yet over her infant’s death. Her ex-husband Erik is a photographer who is also an addict. Professor Rainbow is a historian who at first doesn’t seem to be connected with the former couple, but the revelation latter on is mind-blowing. Then there’s his former lover the French woman Jeanette. And lastly, there’s Detective Ben who is a dead ringer for Perry Mason.
Puzzleman is not your everyday horror novel. Not only will it frighten you, but it will also make you think. In other words, is a thinking person’s novel. Morality is also a core concept which it embodies to an awesome degree. You get a bit of everything while reading Puzzleman, and Broadstone consistently shows his versatility, as his writing style allows him to pen a multi-layered novel which cannot be categorized into a single genre.
Divided into 6 parts and spanning 350+ pages, the first 2 parts deal with introductory segments, but from part 3 onwards Broadstone pushes the pedal to the metal. The pacing is perfect as it extremely well-balanced, and after completing the novel, I did not realize I had finished reading just a little over 350 pages in such a short span of time.
To end with, you won’t find a lot of novels like Puzzleman. It is a highly original work. Additionally, the cover artwork by Danilo Montejo perfectly matches the contents.
Christopher Alan Broadstone has written a gem of a book. His writing skill carries echoes of Clive Barker, his world-building is similar to that of H.P. Lovecraft’s, and the macabre storytelling pays homage to Edgar Allan Poe.
I just hope that Puzzleman is not a one hit wonder. Looking forward to reading Broadstone’s second novel, Heather’s Treehouse, whenever it gets released.
The Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Puzzleman – Official Trailer
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