THE PROPHET by Michael Koryta
Kirkus Star


Email this review


Friday Night Lights meets In Cold Blood in this powerful tale of distant brothers whose torment over the murder of their sister when they were teens is compounded by the murder of another targeted teenage girl—a killing one of the brothers is determined to avenge even if that means committing murder himself.

Adam Austin, a physically imposing bail bondsman and sometime private investigator in the small town of Chambers, Ohio, has never gotten past the guilt of letting his little sister Marie walk home from a football game alone. He drove off with his new girlfriend, Chelsea, and never saw his sister again. He still talks to Marie in her spotlessly maintained old room but is barely on speaking terms with his religiously rehabilitated younger brother Kent, the venerated coach of the football team they once played on together, who forgave the man who killed Marie. After Adam unknowingly sends a 17-year-old client to her death by telling her where she can find a letter-writing ex-con she thinks is her father, the past eerily collides with the present. Dark, spiraling events unmoor the already unstable Adam and his chances of happiness with Chelsea, who is back in his life with her no-good husband serving a long prison sentence. Kent, who seemed headed to his first state championship before the murder of the teen, his star receiver's girlfriend, turns to his brother when his family is threatened. The question is whether Adam is beyond turning to anyone for help. Koryta, who drew acclaim with his 2011 supernatural thrillers, The Ridge and The Cypress House, returns to crime fiction with a gripping work. This book succeeds on any number of levels. It's a brilliantly paced thriller that keeps its villains at a tantalizing distance, a compelling family portrait, a study in morality that goes beyond the usual black-and-white judgments, and an entertaining spin on classic football fiction. A flawless performance.

A compulsively readable novel about brothers on opposite sides of life.

Pub Date: Aug. 7th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-316-12261-0
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2012


FictionTHE PROPHET by Michael Koryta
by Michael Koryta
FictionTONIGHT I SAID GOODBYE by Michael Koryta
by Michael Koryta
FictionSORROW’S ANTHEM by Michael Koryta
by Michael Koryta
FictionA WELCOME GRAVE by Michael Koryta
by Michael Koryta
Kirkus Interview
Michael Koryta
May 26, 2014

Young writer Michael Koryta is already a master of suspense. He tells Kirkus TV how he keeps readers guessing in his new thriller, Those Who Wish Me Dead. View video >


FictionHOW IT HAPPENED by Michael Koryta
by Michael Koryta
FictionRISE THE DARK by Michael Koryta
by Michael Koryta


FictionCHASING DARKNESS by Robert Crais
by Robert Crais
FictionGONE, BABY, GONE by Dennis Lehane
by Dennis Lehane
IndieSCROLLS OF DARKNESS by Paul Henry Johnson
by Paul Henry Johnson