cover image The Grandest Game (The Grandest Game #1)

The Grandest Game (The Grandest Game #1)

Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Little, Brown, $19.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-48101-4

Sequestered contestants vie for millions in this fiendishly clever thriller, the first in a spinoff series from Barnes’s Inheritance Games saga. After a sprawling inaugural event, the second annual Grandest Game—a “mind-twisting” competition run by Tobias Hawthorne’s four grandsons and Avery Grambs, the teen who inherited the eccentric billionaire’s fortune—promises to be a more intimate affair. While cloistered on a private island, eight individuals must race against the clock—and one another—to solve increasingly elaborate puzzles. Many of the players have secrets. Some have diabolical intent. All will do whatever it takes to win. Barnes’s kaleidoscopic third-person narrative rapidly cycles between three contenders, amplifying tension and creating drive. Familiarity with the previous books will lend resonance to certain plot and character developments, but baffling brainteasers, flagrant flirtation, and witty repartee earn the sustained interest of readers old and new. The cast is ethnically diverse. Ages 12–up. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (July)