"As much as Chicagoan Kevin Guilfoile loves his city, he sets it on fire in his latest thriller, The Thousand...Comparisons to The Da Vinci Code are understandable, but The Thousand is less about the secret or the secret society than the dozen characters ensnared by it, characters strung out between the pursuit of power and self-preservation."
An excerpt from The Thousand is now available at Scribd.
"Kevin Guilfoile's Cast of Shadows was one of the most impressive debuts of the last decade. Then came the wait. Now comes The Thousand....It’s Guilfoile’s amazing ability to juggle history, art and numbers into non-stop suspense that demand this book be read. The Thousand encompasses all the best of crime fiction––court room scenes worthy of Turow, a heroine who’s a young V.I. on steroids. His cop reads like McBain and the Grimms couldn’t have come up with a better 'mother.' Into it all he places the storytelling of Eco mixed with O’Brien....Guilfoile may have made us wait for book two but he was inspired by the perfect music that propels The Thousand to create a novel made up of many parts and reaching for the stars of immortality. Damned him, he succeeded."
"While many readers might associate Guilfoile with McSweeney’s, where he’s a frequent contributor, or The Morning News, where with John Warner he provides essential commentary for the Tournament of Books, his fiction occupies a space that some readers might not associate with these latter-day literary tastemakers. Case in point, the titular Thousand are “a clandestine group of powerful individuals safeguarding and exploiting the secret teachings of Pythagoras.” That may sound like Dan Brown fodder, but you’ll be getting something much, much smarter."
"Part thought-provoking mystery, part flat-out thriller, The Thousand is superb. Kevin Guilfoile’s second novel is every bit as inventive—Umberto Eco meets Stan Lee—and well crafted as his first, which is saying something. Guilfoile patiently develops an array of unique characters and adroitly weaves them into a provocative, relentless, labyrinth of a story. It’s a rare treat—a book to savor, contemplate, and admire."
"Kevin Guilfoile is a terrific new novelist with guts, brains, wit, and imagination...[He is] a bright new star in the crime fiction universe, but so much more than that."
"Kevin Guilfoile is a writer of stunning talent."
"Kevin Guilfoile's riveting new novel defies pigeon-holing. Part thriller, part dystopic science fiction, The Thousand takes the reader on a spine-tingling ride from Las Vegas to Chicago, from ancient Greece to modern America. It is the story, above all, of a young woman's efforts to tell truth from lies as a network of powerful people tries to use her for its own gain. If you're like me, you'll stay up all night until the pieces fall into place."
"The chief ingredients of Kevin Guilfoile's creepy new thriller are the same ones Michael Crichton has used to fashion a hugely successful and lucrative career as a popular novelist...What's striking about Cast of Shadows is that Mr. Guilfoile, in his first outing as a novelist, does all this with a lot more panache than Mr. Crichton has demonstrated in many years."
"(A) beautiful masterpiece....a monster of a snowball that picks up speed (and) is caressed by Guilfoile’s genius, creating a climax unlike anything else. There are many twists and turns and things you will never see coming. Nothing at all is predictable in this striking novel."
"As a moral philosopher it is impossible to read Kevin Guilfoile's mesmerizing book without thinking of the history of philosophy for which the idea of free will was central. And I say this as somebody who usually hates thinking about bioethics in terms of scary science fiction stories."
"Clever, compelling and far more original in its basic premise than the vast majority of thrillers on the market this is one of the best novels I have read this year...The quality of (the) writing is uniformly high with sharp characterisation, frequent and satisfyingly unexpected plot twists and the ending is both brutal, bleak and comes brilliantly out of left field...On the strength of this book alone Kevin Guilfoile has shown himself to be one of the most promising new talents to emerge in the thriller genre in recent years."
"FIVE STARS: A hybrid work which opens like a science fiction novel but becomes a first-class whodunnit....To the last page, the author involves us in a moving drama which is also a reflection on human nature and the misdeeds of science. It is a formidable first novel, whose completely unexpected outcome will leave you thinking."
"FIVE STARS...Guilfoile has written a visionary novel, part science fiction, part murder mystery, part philosophical thriller. The book has several complex plotlines, but the path to the disturbing conclusion is just as exciting as it is believable. For me, (Cast of Shadows) is already the best book of 2006."
"A masterful thriller...(full of) dark and complex intrigue, rich in reflections on human nature, free will and fate. The surprising outcome attests to a remarkable storytelling talent. Guilfoile's first novel will clearly not be his last."
"A surprisingly smart clone thriller."
"Kevin Guilfoile frames his successful debut novel with ethical questions about the boundaries of cloning research, but the scientific aspects never get in the way of the exciting action."
If you'd like to subscribe to the infrequent Cast of Shadows email newsletter, or ask a question or leave a comment about this book or anything else I've written just send me an email with "CoS" in the subject line.
"In this original first thriller which mixes science, religious fanaticism and virtual reality, Guilfoile offers a reflection on human nature, destiny and personal freedom, carried by elegant writing and perfectly drawn characters."
"Surprising and disturbing look into the not-too-distant future. Assume the world has legalized human cloning and this book offers a peek into the societal impact wrapped in a murder-mystery. As often as I felt repulsed by some of the characters and belief-systems of the novel, I couldn't put it down."
"A completely new combination of subjects for a crime novel....It is hardly possible to write an evaluation of this novel, because all adjectives have already been used endlessly for other, less unusual detective stories."
"Just when suspense novels seem to be falling into disgrace, an obvious product of the flood of books referring to dark religious conspiracies or historical people, the (publisher) Athenian brings us a story with a current theme that has all the necessary elements for fans of the thriller genre. Readers nostalgic for this type of literature will find (Cast of Shadows) the ideal book to satisfy their expectations."
"Exciting, visionary, and extremely disturbing."
The music site Largehearted Boy asked me to make a playlist for Cast of Shadows, basically a soundtrack for the book. It contains fifteen terrific songs, many by Chicago bands and artists. Be sure to browse through the terrific Book Notes archives to see what other writers are listening to.
Back to the Home Page Unless otherwise indicated, all posts here are by Kevin Guifoile with occasional contributions by Jim Coudal (JC) of Coudal Partners, who created this site. A listing of Kevin's scheduled appearances and readings can be found here.
The detective was polite each morning when
he called, and Davis feigned patience each morning when the detective, after small talk, confessed to having no leads. Well, not zero leads, exactly: A profile had been made of the attacker. The police believed he was white and fair-skinned. They had some general idea about his size, based on the placement of the bruises and the force exerted on her arm, breaking it in two, but that ruled out only the unusually short and the freakishly tall.