The murder of an attractive woman, a father’s anguish and a mother’s sadness sets the scene of this beautiful masterpiece by Kevin Guilfoile. The characters in this book are flawless; Micky “The Gerund” I feel is the first character to come through in this book, Guilfoile developing this character in mere chapters. “The Gerunds” elitism and extremism as a religious man is thrilling as well as chilling.
The demise of Anna-Kat at the beginning sets up what is to come in the book. This alone begins the development of entirely ideal characters. Each character provides a unique balance and contrast, a piece of brilliance concocted by Guilfoile. Some of the characters are completely different to each other, yet they each feed off one another and push each other to their limits.
Davis Moore is a “clone doctor”. Follow how he comes across his daughter’s killers DNA and decides to raise a clone of the killer for identification purposes. Davis really does go through a lot. You really begin to feel empathy for Davis Moore; you really start to feel his helplessness. You begin to feel the evil of what the rapist/murderer did to Moore’s daughter growing in the heart of Davis.
As a reader, you feel the desperation Davis also feels in his quest to find his daughters killer. Moore hits wall after wall, reaching dead end after dead end. Like Davis, you feel as though the quest for AK’s killer is in vain and is a lost cause entirely. The empathy for Davis grows and strengthens with each chapter.
One of the best qualities of this novel is the structure. There are many characters peppered throughout the book that offer something to the story. With each unique character you see snippets of their lives, each chapter is a new and/or familiar set of character(s) to discover.
There is a moral question posed within this book. Guilfoile establishes that in this day and age cloning is legal, though there are strict rules. One of these rules is to only clone the DNA of those that are dead, and cloning AK’s killer is not only breaking the morality of his practices, it is creating another image of a monster that is already out in the world. This is a dark secret that is kept.
There are two worlds that Guilfoile develops in this book. One is the every day world that each character lives and thrives in, and the other world is that of a computer game. “Shadow World” is a spitting image of the world we live in today, but on a computer screen. Characters can live their lives through the game as they would in real life. Not only are their dark secrets and danger in the real world, the danger and secrets in “Shadow World” are just as dangerous.
As more and more people discover what Davis did, the despair that Davis feels throughout the novel builds up again, and as you empathise with Davis and feel his pain and torment, you really do hope he succeeds in his goal for closure.
As things become worse for each character and Dr Davis Moore’s situation becomes more and more complicated, the end result is a monster of a snowball that picks up speed that is beautifully manufactured and 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.
NB: This novel is released in Australia under the title of “Wicker”.
By Jason Damman
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© 2006 Jason Damman