In the near future cloning is used as a reproductive alternative. As a way to avoid passing on genetic conditions, many couple choose to use the DNA of a now dead donor to create their own child. Dr. Davis Moore is a prominent doctor who employs this technique at his fertility clinic. Dr. Moore’s teenage daughter, Anna Kat, is raped and murdered, but the case remains unsolved for many years. When the police return Anna Kat’s belongings, he finds a vial of the killer’s DNA inadvertently left behind. In that moment he makes a decision with momentous repercussions; he switches this DNA for the donated DNA scheduled for cloning. Dr. Moore watches this boy grown up, hoping to see the killer who took away his daughter.
Cast of Shadows is an interesting look at what makes us human. Is it our DNA or something less tangible? Are our future selves determined by our DNA? Justin, the boy cloned from the killer, show signs of violence, so much so that his mother fears him. Will he become a killer because his genes dictate it, or will the influences in his life keep him from that fate? Once Justin learns he is a clone, he decides that his only fate is the same as his donor.
The male characters in this novel are very well done. I was instantly drawn into the life of Dr. Moore. His motives are completely understandable and while he commits a great breach in trust, he is sympathetic. Justin is interesting to follow, even though there is obviously something ominous about him. The plot jumps around at times and I was jarred out of the story more than once by the leaps form one point of view to another.
Although Cast of Shadows by Kevin Guilfoile is more a thriller than straight science fiction, the use of cloning may interest some science fiction fans. Some of the science involved seemed a little iffy to me (most notably that others suspect the DNA switch because Justin has a birthmark that his recorded donor does not) but the story was engaging enough to keep me reading nonetheless. Cast of Shadows is a great thriller for casual science fiction fans. I recommend you read this one.
Cast of Shadows by Paul Guilfoile
Published by Knopf
Cast of Shadows is available at Amazon.com
I was provided with a free review copy of Cast of Shadows