Guilfoile, Kevin 1969(?)-
GUILFOILE, Kevin 1969(?)-
PERSONAL: Born c. 1969, in Teaneck, NJ; married; wife's name, Mo; children: Max. Education: Graduated from University of Notre Dame.
ADDRESSES: Home—Chicago, IL. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Alfred A. Knopf, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
CAREER: Writer. Commentator for National Public Radio; worked variously for Houston Astros (professional baseball team) and in advertising in Chicago, IL.
(And illustrator, with John Warner) Modern Humorist Presents My First Presidentiary: A Scrapbook by George W. Bush, edited by Michael Colton, Three Rivers Press (New York, NY), 2001.
Cast of Shadows (novel), Knopf (New York, NY), 2005.
Guilfoile's writings have been anthologized in Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's Humor, May Contain Nuts: A Very Loose Canon of American Humor, 101 Damnations, and The Humorists' Tour of Personal Hells. Contributor of short humor to periodicals, including McSweeney's, New Republic, Modern Humorist, Chicago Reader, and Morning News online.
ADAPTATIONS: Cast of Shadows was adapted as an audio book by Random House Audio, 2005.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A second novel.
SIDELIGHTS: Although Kevin Guilfoile established his writing credentials as a humorist, his first novel, Cast of Shadows, is a combination science-fiction, mystery, and legal thriller. In an interview with Publishers Weekly contributor Michael Archer, Guilfoile explained that he has always been interested in thrillers and noted that "writing humor and writing suspense are the same in that with both you're trying to get an involuntary response out of people, whether it's to make them laugh or to scare them."
The plot of Cast of Shadows takes place in the future and revolves around Dr. David Moore, whose seventeen-year-old daughter has been raped and murdered. The police cannot find the killer, and, when they return Moore's daughter's belongings to him, they inadvertently include a vial of sperm from the evidence files. An expert in the future-world of advanced cloning and a fertility doctor, Moore uses his own contested technology to clone the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and artificially impregnate a woman with the goal of creating a copy of his daughter's murderer. He then becomes involved in the child's life, seeking clues to who the killer is through the child's face and actions, which are observed through a private investigator. The child, Justin Finn, grows up, and he confronts Moore when he is age fifteen and announces that he knows he is a clone and he may have clues to the killer's identity. Complicating the plot is the suspicion that Finn may possess some of the evil characteristics of the murderer. The answer to Moore's search for the killer may also involve a real-time video game called Shadow World, which reflects the real city of Chicago, where Moore lives and also where the murder took place. Moore suspects that the murderer may play the game, not only to kill women virtually but also as a precursor to doing so in real life.
In a review of Cast of Shadows for MBR Bookwatch, Harriet Klausner commented that the author "cooks up an extremely exciting tale with several intriguing moral questions." Christopher J. Korenowsky, writing in Library Journal, noted that the novel's plot unfolds in a "logical yet compelling fashion" as it centers on issues surrounding "good and evil, past lives, and scientific cloning." A Publishers Weekly contributor called Cast of Shadows an "engrossing debut novel" and felt that the work "as a whole is rich and involving." Michiko Kakutani wrote in the New York Times that the "story occasionally stumbles into the clichés thrillers are prone to" but added that "Guilfoile's tricky, high-concept plot continually subverts and plays with the reader's expectations." Calling the novel "gripping," Kakutani went on comment that the author "knows how to create suspense that not only relies on police-blotter developments but also stems from his characters' personalities, their sense of right and wrong, [and] their intuitions about fate and choice and will."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2005, review of Cast of Shadows, p. 73.
Library Journal, March 1, 2005, Christopher J. Korenowsky, review of Cast of Shadows, p. 78.
MBR Bookwatch, May 2005, Harriet Klausner, review of Cast of Shadows.
New York Times, April 19, 2005, Michiko Kakutani, review of Cast of Shadows.
People, April 11, 2005, Sue Corbett, review of Cast of Shadows, p. 52.
Publishers Weekly, January 24, 2005, Michael Archer, "Kevin Guilfoile: Cast of Shadows" (interview), p. 119; January 31, 2005, review of Cast of Shadows, p. 48.
BellaOnline.com, http://www.bellaonline.com/ (June 29, 2005), Laura Lehman, review of Cast of Shadows.
Best Reviews Online, http://www.thebestreviews.com/ (May 2, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Cast of Shadows.
Morning News Online, http://www.themorningnews.org/ (May 24, 2005), Robert Birnbaum, "Birnbaum v. Kevin Guilfoile," interview with author.
RoundTableReviews.com, http://www.roundtablereviews.com/ (June 29, 2005), review of Cast of Shadows.
Salon.com, http://www.salon.com/ (June 6, 2005), Laura Miller, review of Cast of Shadows.