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Publisher's Summary

Dr. Theo Cray and FBI agent Jessica Blackwood confront a cataclysmic conspiracy in a pulse-quickening thriller by the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Naturalist.

A mysterious electrical storm plunges Manhattan into darkness. As a strange, smothering fog rolls in, all communication crashes. In the blink of an eye, the island seems to vanish into a void. 

FBI special agent Jessica Blackwood and brilliant scientist Dr. Theo Cray know this isn’t a freak accident. It’s a sinister sleight of hand. Their greatest adversary, a serial killer and cultist known as the Warlock, has escaped during a prison transfer in New York. A depraved master of manipulation, he promised the end of days. He’s making good on it. 

One by one, cities across the globe are erupting in chaos as they disappear into the same black holes. Even for two ingenious trackers like Jessica and Theo, there’s still so much to learn about the pattern to the Warlock’s madness. The voids are just a warm-up for something bigger. To discover it - to stop it - Jessica and Theo must descend into the darkest of shadows - and minds.

©2021 by Andrew Mayne. (P)2021 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“A passionate and thorough storyteller…Thriller fans will be well rewarded.”Publishers Weekly

What listeners say about Mastermind

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I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!

All I can say is WOW!!!! Ok, so maybe I have more to say than that but it’s a start... Andrew Mayne is such a gifted author. ALL of his books have held my attention from beginning to end. His Jessica Blackwood an Theo Cray series are of course his best. Bringing these two characters together is ingenious! The sexual tension between the two is palpable so only adds to the suspense. In life and death situations.
The publisher’s summary is pretty comprehensive. Cities seem to disappear and 30 chimpanzees do. And the escaped Warlock is at the heart of it all. But even he may not be the man readers have been lead to believe. Jessica and Theo are lead on a globe trotting investigation from NYC to Chernobyl and beyond.
I would definitely listen to both series before listening to this book. There is background information that makes this a much more enjoyable story.
I really appreciate Jessica’s staunch attitude about leaving her show business career in the past. And Theo’s egghead perspective of the world yet he has an endearing personality (at times) and is quick-witted and sarcastic at others.
Jennifer O’Donnell and Will Damron do a spectacular job narrating together.
This book has my VERY HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!!!!
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

18 people found this helpful

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Delightfully offbeat mystery!

In Master Mind author Andrew Mayne brings together his two of the protagonists from his earlier novels. The pairing of computational biologist Theo Cray and magician Jessica Blackwood works wonderfully well. If one likes mystery novels then the marvelous creativity of Andrew Mayne's books is certain to delight. I suggest starting with The Naturalist series (Theo Cray novels).

8 people found this helpful

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Do it

I didn't know what to expect coming into this one. I love the author, and Theo is my boy, but Blackwood's plots have been slippin, and I didn't want her bringing him down. I also didn't want them to go full action-hero trope, and I was worried at first, since Cray apparently went true to his name and has been dropping bodies from the shadows on the reg in Burma like John Rambo with a doctorate. But honestly, let's talk about the highlight of this book: the chimp fight. You guys, they fight a pack of savage murderous chimps in a secret lab, and, AND, it's not the dumbest thing ever. It absolutely works. I was on-edge for shark-jumping, and this would have been the moment, but it works. The book I listened to before this was a 12-hour horror novel with nightmarishly grotesque visuals, but this monkey deathmatch scene was absolutely more tense and fear-inducing than that entire book. Take a shot at this book. Do it for yourself. Do it for Andrew. Do it for the chimps.

5 people found this helpful

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seven years ...

I have loved every single one of these books... Seven years and eight books later.... and I still love them, very relistenable. Thank you Andrew for this excellent book series.

5 people found this helpful

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Surprisingly Good!!!

I took a chance on this book, I’m so glad I did.

I’m not a big detective story reader.

But this story has a truly BAD bad guy, and not just 1 but 2 brilliant detectives.

Each detective has strengths and unique problem solving skills. Together they make an amazing pair.

This isn’t a book that people will say. “I knew what was going to happen “.

This story, and some really great narration make this a must read for your library. I highly recommend.

3 people found this helpful

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More please

Captivating story and rich characters make me want more and more from Andrew Mayne. The story is full of surprises and twists and kept me wanting to drive just a little bit further so I could keep listening. I anxiously await Andrew‘s next book.

3 people found this helpful

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More Techno- Than Thriller

Okay, I'm being a bit picky here. This is actually a well written novel, and I like the premise very much. I just didn't expect it to be a techno-thriller. There were times when Theo and Jessica would discuss what was happening and my mind would just go into vapor lock over the entire concept. I may just be a bit too low-brow for this type of read, which is why I don't generally choose techno-thrillers. It probably says quite a bit about my reading style that the best part of the entire book for me was the scene with the chimpanzees. *shrug* I like what I like.

If you're into techno-thrillers, check this one out. Theo is an interesting character with an off the charts IQ and a strong sense of social justice. The plot is complex and fascinating, and the narrators are outstanding.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent

I loved it!!! What a great combo of characters!! I can't wait to listen to the next book in the series. The narration was excellent also.

2 people found this helpful

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Love Jessica and Theo

Jessica is back! I love how her and Theo work together. Mastermind took me on a wild ride, and at one point I was really really worried that a character was going to die. Now to wait a year for the next one 😭

2 people found this helpful

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Would have benefit from duet style

I love Theo Cray and Jessica Blackwood. This crossover story was great but I kept getting pulled out of the story by each narrator voicing the lines of the other's character. This is probably because Will Damron has such a distinctive way of voicing Theo. Theo's dialog coming from anyone else just kept dragging me out of the story. Other than that, the individual performances were really good.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Andrew & Kath Paton
  • Andrew & Kath Paton
  • 09-22-21

Great book but!

I really enjoyed the audio book however the ending was lacking substance and was not at quality of the rest of book.