SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 649 Cast of Shadows, by Kevin Guilfoile Book Review |

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Cast of Shadows, by Kevin Guilfoile
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Knopf
Published: 2005
Review Posted: 8/19/2005
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 10 out of 10

Cast of Shadows, by Kevin Guilfoile

Book Review by Adrienne Jones

Have you read this book?

I was having a discussion recently about how much actual science needs to go into a story to make it Science Fiction. Cast of Shadows by Kevin Guilfoile is a novel about cloning, that is not really ABOUT cloning. But once drawn into the mystery of this plot, we forget about the science.

I marvel at how easy it was to suspend my disbelief, considering how little actual medical detail the author used. A few brief client meetings in the office of Dr. Davis Moore, specialist in reproductive cloning, and the truths were set; cloning is now commonplace, the DNA taken only from the dead, and used to aid infertile couples conceive a child. Okay, good enough, I'm with you.

We then move onto the real genre of this book, which is a combination mystery-crime thriller. After the murder of his teenage daughter, the grief-stricken Dr. Moore throws ethics out the window when some police evidence fumbling puts his daughter's killer's DNA right in his hands. Thereafter, an unsuspecting couple gets the DNA of a killer to spawn their baby boy.

Dr. Moore stalks the boy from afar as he grows up, obsessing, acquiring photos, investing in an age-enhancement imaging program, to try and determine what an adult version of little Justin--his daughter's killer--might look like today.

One of the things that worked surprisingly well in this novel is the time span. From start to finish, the story spans roughly seventeen years. This is extraordinary, since we've all seen novels of the same length that cover a mere twenty-four hours. But the flow is smooth, the continuity fairly adept, and the characters so consistent that the hops ahead in time are not disorienting.

Not a bad feat, considering that in addition to Dr. Davis Moore and his follies, we're also following the intertwining stories of a private detective, as well as a 'Hands of God' anti-cloning assassin.

While some of the plotlines are predictable, others are refreshingly surprising. As we follow the life of the killer's clone, little Justin, in turn following Dr. Moore following little Justin (bear with me), we know what's going to be behind some of the doors, but not all. Guilfoile throws in enough twists to stump us periodically, but even when the expected happens, the action is colorful enough to keep the pages turning. And for the record, I did NOT guess the ending. An entertaining read.
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