Alfred A Knopf
A writer for both McSweeney’s and Salon, Kevin Guilfoile positions his second novel, The Thousand, as a thinking person’s Da Vinci Code. Yet after reading his fantasia on secret societies and lost relics (here a posthumous completion of Mozart’s Requiem), we’d rather watch Robert Langdon search for the missing sock in his dryer.
Boiled down, the busy plot is rather straightforward and predictable: Canada Gold, a Sin City card-counter with superhuman mental capacities (Guilfoile’s attempt to recreate Lisbeth Salander in his own image), searches for her father’s killer and is enveloped in an ancient Pythagorean society in the process. The atmospheric hybrid of Stieg Larsson and Dan Brown sounds compelling, but it doesn’t hold up in court. For starters, are we really supposed to believe that a prominent, well-educated lawyer has never heard of the term ‘requiem’?
The temptation to throw the book across the room is there, but the author also gives us page-turning chapters and a satisfying climax (if unsuccessful conclusion) that should last a few metro rides. He has consumed a hefty amount of film noir, which peppers the dialogue throughout and makes Canada’s adventures rather addictive. Sadly, the other characters’ plots fail to live up to this standard.