I love it when I discover a new favorite author. Kevin Guilfoile is writing intriguing, intellectual thrillers that ask, "What if?" "Cast of Shadows" seems to be set in the not-to-distant future ??? or else in a slightly altered present ??? where reproductive human cloning is just coming into common use. It asks the question: "What if reproductive cloning were (mis-) used to catch a killer?" Guilfoile deeply and thoughtfully explores the potential ramifications and consequences of such technology. The earlier reviewer who objected to the "Christian theme" of this novel must not have listened to it for very long; because "Cast of Shadows" definitely does not have a Christian theme at all: only a sub-plot following the radical Christian right's violent reaction to the use of human cloning technology. In fact, the thread of this sub-plot, woven intermittently into the main story, stays entirely in the background until the very end, when it finally emerges to reveal a deliciously surprising plot twist. Any intelligent, thinking person will love this book. The narrator, Scott Brick, is a good actor with an unpleasant voice; but the story will soon have you overlooking this one small drawback. I am now listening to Mr. Guilfoile's next novel, "The Thousand," which is providing me with at least as much enjoyment as "Cast of Shadows" did. I highly recommend this author.
With "Political Suicide," Palmer returns to his likable protagonist, Lou Welcome, from his prior novel, "Oath of Office." Only, you don't necessarily have to listen to "Oath of Office" first, as "Political Suicide" tells a new story. Palmer does, sometimes, fetch afar for his plots; and I am hoping that he has done so, again, with this one. I don't want to believe that a plot like this one could actually be hatched in the upper echelons of power. Without giving away any surprises -- in deference to those who don't like "spoilers" -- this story deals with a despicable way of leveling the playing field in the war on terror. Medicine -- Palmer's usual theme -- plays only a subsidiary part here, demonstrating Palmer's gradual move toward the political-thriller genre. Some of the characterizations in "Political Suicide" do stretch credibility a bit -- like lawyer Sarah Cooper's sudden transformation from nasty to nice -- but the cute plot twist at the end of the story ameliorated that weakness to a certain extent for me. As with "Oath of Office," narrator Robert Petkoff does a good job reading us "Political Suicide," clearly distinguishing all the characters from one another with different voices and accents. If you like thrillers, and don't mind suspending disbelief just a bit, I recommend "Political Suicide" to you.
I just listened to "The First Patient" again, and it held up admirably to a second listen. I always enjoy Michael Palmer's novels, because of their intelligent plotting and good writing. This one introduces the ingenious concept of nanotechnology as a medical weapon. It has a very satisfying surprise plot twist at the end; and the good guy comes out on top, which I always like. I also appreciated Phil Gigante's narration of the story. I recommend "The First Patient" to anyone who enjoys medical thrillers.
First, the good news: the reader was excellent. She was able to bring to life Jewish, Polish, & Australian characters with just the right accents and inflections. Now, the bad news: there were a few too many coincidences for me with regard to the main character; and in the end I realized she would be a much older character than she seems throughout the novel. I do enjoy listening to novels that have some basis in history - so I would still recommend the book even though I found some flaws in the timeline.