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THE PROPHET by Michael Koryta Kirkus Star


by Michael Koryta

Pub Date: Aug. 7th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-316-12261-0
Publisher: Little, Brown

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.