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Killfile: A Novel

Killfile: A Novel

4.5 2
by Christopher Farnsworth

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The author of The Eternal World seamlessly combines history, biotechnology, action and adventure in this high-concept thriller in the spirit of James Rollins, Brad Thor, and Douglas Preston.

John Smith has a special gift that seems more like a curse: he can access other peoples thoughts. He hears the the songs stuck in their heads, their most private


The author of The Eternal World seamlessly combines history, biotechnology, action and adventure in this high-concept thriller in the spirit of James Rollins, Brad Thor, and Douglas Preston.

John Smith has a special gift that seems more like a curse: he can access other peoples thoughts. He hears the the songs stuck in their heads, their most private traumas and fears, the painful memories they can’t let go. The CIA honed his skills until he was one of their most powerful operatives, but Smith fled the Agency and now works as a private consultant, trying to keep the dark potentials of his gift in check—and himself out of trouble.

But now Smith is unexpectedly plunged into dangerous waters when his latest client, billionaire software genius Everett Sloan, hires him to investigate a former employee—a tech whiz kid named Eli Preston—and search his thoughts for some very valuable intellectual property he’s stolen. Before John can probe Preston’s mind, his identity is compromised and he’s on a run for his life with Sloan’s young associate, Kelsey.

Hunted by shadowy enemies with deep resources and unknown motives, John and Kelsey must go off the grid. John knows their only hope for survival is using his powers to their fullest—even if means putting his own sanity at risk.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Psychic John Smith, the resourceful hero of this clever if one-note thriller from Farnsworth (The Eternal World), can read minds and influence the actions of others via mental suggestion. John used to work for the CIA, but he left after a harrowing incident, in order to become an independent troubleshooter who sells his services to the supremely wealthy. One of his clients is tech billionaire Everett Sloan, who hires him to recover an alleged stolen algorithm from the mind of onetime protégé, now a rival, Eli Preston. John teams with Sloan’s assistant, Kelsey Foster, who’s competent, levelheaded, and beautiful, for the mission. But mysterious forces turn the tables on John, and he and Kelsey must run for their lives. John’s psychic abilities save them time and again in a series of entertaining variations on mental suggestion and illusion, convincing would-be assassins to overlook his presence and attack one another. The action-filled story concludes, not unexpectedly, with a final push by John to avenge wrongs done by his pursuers. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Capable of hearing other people's thoughts, a burden the CIA exploited to the fullest when he worked as an operative, John Smith is now a private consultant trying to keep other people out of his head. Trouble comes when a wealthy software genius asks him to track down former employee Eli Preston and sift through his thoughts for some intellectual property he's appropriated. When his mission is compromised, John runs for his life with Eli's associate, Kelsey. Farnsworth clearly likes thrills with a supernatural touch; he's the author of the nicely admired "President's Vampire" trilogy. With a 60,000-copy first printing.
Kirkus Reviews
Hired by billionaire Everett Sloan to determine whether a whiz kid who used to work for his data-mining outfit stole company secrets to start his own operation, mind-reading investigator John Smith finds himself targeted by a conspiratorial group with secret CIA connections.Years removed from quitting the CIA, which trained him on how to use his skills, Smith is no ordinary telepath. Not only can he "hear" what people are thinking, he also can project thoughts and fears into their heads. The problem is, when he defends himself from an attacker by implanting a traumatizing memory or crippling feeling, he himself retains a percentage of the pain or suffering. High-tech bad boy Eli Preston ("the next Zuckerberg"), the data thief, is so concerned that Smith will reveal his illicit government ties that he wants him 100 percent dead. Though Smith is no slouch at fisticuffs, his powers are neutralized when thugs are delivering blows to his head. He also suffers without his meds, haunted by the memory of interrogators torturing and killing a prisoner in Bagram who was telling the truth when he said he didn't know where Osama bin Laden was. Now on the run, his credit and bank accounts voided by the powerful bad guys, Smith gathers up strength to take on a wider-reaching threat than he envisioned. He gets help and then some from Kelsey Foster, a fetching, now-former associate of Preston's. Though Farnsworth takes his time detailing Smith's past and the military's interest in "mind warfare," that doesn't diminish the appeal of his flip, unusually compelling hero or the up-to-the-minute freshness of the story.Farnsworth, author of the fantastical Nathaniel Cade series (Red, White, and Blood, 2012, etc.), stands to expand his following with this clever, offbeat thriller.
Nick Cutter
“Christopher Farnsworth has written a blistering, provocative, and propulsive novel - reading KILLFILE is the equivalent of being strapped to the nosecone of a ballistic missile hurtling through the sky at 5,000 MPH. Which is to say, it’s one hell of a ride.”
Beau Smith
“Part James Bond, part Jason Bourne, part Professor X, only smarter, wittier, and can run faster. Adrenaline action at its mind-reading best. Christopher Farnsworth’s KILLFILE unleashes the greatest weapon ever: the human mind.”
Ian Tregillis
“Like his protagonist, Chris Farnsworth is a mind reader: he knows how to keep me hooked until I reach the last page. KILLFILE is his best yet.”
Boyd Morrison
“From the very first page of KILLFILE, I knew I was in the hands of a master storyteller. Christopher Farnsworth delivers his best thriller yet, and I can’t wait to read whatever he comes up with next.”
Jonathan Howard
“. . . Mixing a deliciously readable hybrid of “man on the run” adventure with technothriller elements and a protagonist with a powerful telepathic talent that doesn’t hesitate to kick him in the balls on occasion, Killfile is, in the final analysis, bloody good fun.”
Ernest Cline
Praise for Killfile:“Fast, fun, and frenetic. A whip-smart edge-of-your-seat thriller.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Christopher Farnsworth is a journalist, a screenwriter, and the author of the President's Vampire trilogy. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughters.

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Killfile 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Outstanding new character. Wonderful, and sometimes hilarious depiction of internal monologue. Farnsworth knocked it out of the park on this one.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
"I know what you're thinking. Most of the time, it's not impressive. Trust me." Dozen of people move around me on the sidewalks in L.A.'s financial district, all of them on autopilot. Plugged into their phones, eyes locked on their screens, half-listening to the person on the other end, sleepwalking as they head for their jobs or their first hits of caffeine. The stuff inside their heads can barely even be called thoughts; slogans and buzzwords; half-remembered songs; the latest domestic cage match with whomever they left at home; dramas and gossip involving people they'll never meet in real life. And sex. Lots of sex." That's what I live with constantly, all around me like audible smog. Most of the time, it's just annoying. But today, it makes it easy to find my targets. They're fully awake, jangling with adrenaline and anxiety. They stand out, hard and bright, a couple of rhinestones glittering in the usual muck."(pg 2). John Smith can so more than simply read your thoughts. He can alter your actions and bring to mind anything he wants to you believe or imagine. It is why the CIA wanted him to work for him and also the reason why he left. Now as a private consultant, he decides whom he'll work for and also how much they can pay him. There isn't anything he doesn't know before they begin negotiations. When billionaire mogul Everett Sloan makes him an offer he has desired his entire life, silence to those ongoing, never-ending thoughts, it is simply too good of an offer to pass up. Sloan believes that a former employee of his, Eli Preston has stolen an algorithm that he has developed and now is employing to make himself untold amounts of wealth for his clients. Sloan wants his memory erased before he can become a serious threat to his company and John Smith is just the man to do it. During a scheduled meeting with Preston, Smith's identify is compromised and now he becomes the hunted along with Preston's young associate Kelsey Foster and it will be a battle of intelligence, cyber terrorism and mind control that they have never faced before, and ultimately it may in fact cost John more than he ever imagined or thought possible. I received Killfile by Christopher Farnsworth compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation aside from a free copy of this novel in exchange for my fair and unbiased review. I absolutely LOVED this edge of your seat psychological thriller and it is truly non stop action. What I loved the most about this novel is that is vastly different from anything I have read and makes you wonder what would stand in the way of a man who could read your thoughts and could kill you without you even realizing what is happening. How would he be used by our own government and even worse his enemies if they found out what he could do? I only hope, that this novel is considered for the big screen because it is fresh, innovative and definitely worth the price of a movie ticket to see this played out in theaters. For me, this was a definitive 4 out of 5 stars and only wanes from the final star based on sexual content and language that some readers might find offensive according to my review standards. All in all, a definite addition to my must read by Christopher Farnsworth in the future.