Title: The Prophet
Author: Michael Koryta
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Rating: 4 out of 5
Adam and Kent Austin are brothers living in a small town, but they haven’t spoken in years. Adam has never been able to get over the abduction and murder of their younger sister when she was a teenager and ekes out a living as a bail bondsman. Kent has become the high school football coach of a celebrated local team. But just before football playoffs begin, another teenage girl is kidnapped and murdered, and Kent and Adam realize this might be connected to their sister’s case.
The Prophet is a novel that revolves, first and foremost, around high school football. For those living in big cities, it’s difficult to imagine how much small town life revolves around the football scene, whether you have a child in school or not. It’s something that brings the town together, and Koryta captures that atmosphere perfectly in The Prophet. The reader can feel Kent’s desperation for the state title, understand the pressure he’s under to deliver for the town. The murder of one of his players’ girlfriends only serves to heighten that tension.
The murder mystery in The Prophet is very well told. Koryta takes the reader on twists and turns, back and forward through time, as the story unfolds. The reader gets to know this town, to understand how it was affected by such a horrific crime. It’s interesting because this isn’t a whodunit—the reader discovers the guilty party surprisingly early in the novel. The tension and suspense is much more personal. What decisions will Kent and Adam make? How will they react to these situations? It may seem mundane, but Koryta’s expert writing means that this novel is crackling with tension.
The highlight of The Prophet is really in the characters. At first glance, Kent and Adam seem so different. However, as the novel progresses, the reader realizes how alike they really are. The major difference between the two is how each reacted to their sister’s death; Adam was never able to move past it, and thus is haunted by her murder each day. With this new case, Adam sees a chance to absolve himself of past sins, to get the revenge he never was able to in the past. It’s incredibly interesting to watch Adam, to see what decisions he makes as he tries to find some sort of peace.
If you’re looking for a unique suspense novel with an incredible small-town atmosphere, The Prophet is a great choice. If you have absolutely no interest in football, the play-by-plays of the games might be a little tedious, but overall this is an excellent novel that should appeal to both fans of Koryta’s and newcomers alike.
Other books by Michael Koryta: