Marcus Sakey has a number of thrillers under his belt, but it is with Brilliance that he introduces some elements that seem a little science fiction in nature, and the result is a thriller that is kicked up a notch in a possible world of brilliants. The first ones were born in 1980, and since then 1% of the population is born “brilliant,” possessing a special ability that puts them above the ordinary human race.
There is a woman in Chicago who can turn herself invisible by going where no one is looking. A woman in Wyoming who can read people’s darkest secrets by the way they fold their arms. Or the man who has been able to sense the patterns in the stock market and earned himself $300 billion, shutting the whole system down. But for the young brilliants, there are special schools now to help train them for life, though to some they seem more like brain-washing prisons that make the brilliants hard and hateful of the world.
One of those people who isn’t a fan is FBI agent Nick Cooper. He’s a brilliant who has abilities that make him a very useful agent in tracking and hunting down terrorists and knowing what they’re going to do next. He also has a daughter who might be a brilliant and the last thing he wants is for them to do the test, confirm her brilliance, and start the indoctrination.
His latest case is one of the most dangerous brilliants alive who was the lead instigator in a blood-bath massacre. But it will mean going against his kind, lying to a lot of people, and going against what he believes in to catch this guy. As things progress it seems like everything might not be as it seems, and it might cost him everything to do what needs to be done.
Sakey has created a compelling and interesting world with these brilliants, presenting an alternate world where things like September 11th never happened. But it is also a familiar world where animosity and hate is growing against these brilliants by “normal” people. Brilliance is a made up story that has a lot of realism to it that keeps readers fully on board to the very end.
Originally written on September 28, 2013 ©Alex C. Telander.
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