Michael Koryta’s THE PROPHET
Michael Koryta made a name for himself (at a very young age) with the Lincoln Perry series. Think early Michael Connelly but the series especially reminded me of Dennis Lehane. They are brilliantly written and the dialogue crackles. There are some one-liners that will make you laugh out loud and you invest in all the characters and the plot-twists are spot on.
After writing a stand-alone novel about a son plotting revenge on those who killed his hit-man father in Envy The Night Kortya’s next three books have all been in the supernatural/paranormal genre. I was not a fan of So Cold The River, I did enjoy The Cypress House and haven’t yet read The Ridge. I like my crime gritty and realistic which is probably why I didn’t warm to supernatural elements but his new book The Prophet is a return to his roots and a BIG reminder why I am a huge fan of his work.
The Prophet is one of those great crime books which puts two characters in a situation and we see how they react. Two brothers, Adam and Kent, both champion High School footballers in their day, a couple of years apart, have both dealt with the murder of their sister 20 years ago in different ways. Kent has turned to coaching and religion and has used his faith and mentoring to try and overcome what happened to his sister. He has tried to forgive and forget and visited his sister’s killer in prison to do just that. Adam has not forgiven and will not forget. He wanted revenge and his guilt about what happened has meant he has been unable and unwilling to move from his sister’s death. The two brother’s different approaches to their grief and guilt have split them apart and despite both still living in the same small Ohio town they no longer see or speak to each other.
On the cusp of the town’s first High School Football State Championship in 20 years another girl is murdered. Her death opens up old wounds for both brothers. For Kent it is a test of his faith and his ability to forgive. For Adam it is a chance to extract some kind of revenge that he missed out on when his sister’s killer died in prison. But the two brothers becoming involved is no coincidence and in fact is part of the killer’s plan.
Like a game of football this is taut and gripping, ebbs and flows, is unpredictable and isn’t over until the very end. While a lot of the American Football references escaped me it wasn’t distracting or disengaging. In fact the high school football element added another layer to the book that I really enjoyed. Koryta has written a page-turning thriller about guilt and grief, revenge and redemption, split-second choices and their long-lasting and possibly soul-destroying consequences.
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