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Book review: 'Brilliance' by Marcus Sakey
Date of Review: 
Published Work: 
Erika Jost
Damn Arbor

One thought kept surfacing as I plunged through Brilliance, Flint native Marcus Sakey's fast-paced new thriller, which will be released tomorrow: this would be a great movie. It was no surprise, then, when I found out that the rights to the film had been purchased by Legendary Pictures four months ago, even before the book's publication date. The high-energy chase scenes, the political intrigue, even the casting of a Henry Cavill or Matt Bomer as protagonist Nick Cooper--the story reads as if already on the big screen.

Mr. Sakey has created an alternate reality, the March 2013 America that may have existed if, starting thirty years ago, one percent of our population were inexplicably born "gifted." (Mr. Sakey even takes a jab at our regular world in the novel, writing a fake Times review of a book about the way the world might have been if the gifted had never been born: "war with the Middle East, the rise of violent religious fundamentalism, and a planet on the verge of irreversible ecological damage." Good one, Mr. Sakey.)

Some brilliants have benign gifts, like multiplying large numbers quickly, or unprecedented talent as musicians. But some of the gifted--or abnorms, or, pejoratively, "twists"--are considered "tier one," which, if harnessed for evil, are seen as potential threats to national security. Nick Cooper, with his ability to "read" people, is one such brilliant. He is also one of the most effective agents in Department of Analysis and Response, a federal agency created to hunt and eliminate dangerous gifted, by any means necessary.