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Gillian Flynn on Marcus Sakey's new Thriller, "Brilliance"

Gillian Flynn is the author of three novels: Sharp Objects  (2006), Dark Places  (2009), and Gone Girl (2012). She is a former television critic for Entertainment Weekly.



Let me first begin by saying, Marcus Sakey is a friend of mine. He’s a friend because I read his whip-smart thrillers years ago (The Amateurs is one of my favorites) and loved them so much I decided I had to meet the twisted mind behind them. So I was a fan before I was a friend. After reading Brilliance, the scales may have tilted: I may now be more fan than friend—it’s that ridiculously good.

Brilliance is the kind of novel that makes you grin at its high-flying feats of imagination, and then grin harder because it sticks the landing. It’s thrilling and funny and disturbing and sharp as hell. It’s my kind of book. It’s set in an eerie, alternate reality in which a tiny portion of children are born with disproportionate powers—strange and dazzling skill sets. They’re called "brilliants."

The first wave of those extraordinary children are now all-grown up. Agent Nick Cooper is one of them—and not. He’s both a brilliant and a man sworn to hunt down his own kind as the country teeters on the brink of civil war. He has a mission to stop a "brilliant" terrorist, but he soon finds out he knows only a fragment of the freaky kaleidoscope that is the whole truth. As with all of Sakey’s work, it only gets more intricate and involving from there.

Sakey has created a stunning world, a world packed with politics, prejudice, moral ambiguity, manipulation, repression, revolution. A world that resonates. It feels real. That’s what I love about it. It’s our world, today, with a twist. And with twists. Sakey is the master of the mindful page turner—he likes to keep you on your toes, wide awake, thinking, thinking, thinking..

I was addicted to this book as I read it. And forgetful: It’s a forget-to-pick-up-milk, forget-to-water-the-plants, forget-to-eat blissful, total immersion experience.

What more can I say? It’s brilliant. Call me a fan.

--Gillian Flynn

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