Accomplished fabulist James Frey has constructed an elaborate secret fiction around his latest book, the young-adult novel Endgame: The Calling. As The Hollywood Reporter reports, the soon-to-be-birthed Endgame franchise will include not only a trilogy of books but also “a puzzle, a game, [and] a treasure hunt” as part of a broader alternate-reality universe for readers. The plan is similar to Frey’s alternate-reality memoir A Million Little Pieces, which also included a breadcrumb trail of clues for self-appointed sleuths and daytime talk show hosts to piece together as they sought the truth. The difference is that this time, Frey has decided to inform people of his deceptions in advance.
The Reporter story gives a glimpse of the plans for Endgame:
Each book in the series will feature an interactive puzzle comprised of clues and riddles that will lead to the location of a hidden key. The first eligible reader to solve the puzzle for the first book and find the key will win $500,000 worth in gold. Frey says the prizes will get bigger with each book.
Indeed, the Endgame prizes are already a big step up from the days of A Million Little Pieces, when the prize for figuring out the book’s hidden mystery was to lose whatever remaining respect you had for the American publishing industry.