Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Guest Book Review: The Prophet by Michael Koryta

The Prophet
Author: Michael Koryta
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Published: Little, Brown and Company
Reviewer: Stephanie

My Rating: 

Adam Austin hasn't spoken to his brother in years. When they were teenagers, their sister was abducted and murdered, and their devastated family never recovered. Now Adam keeps to himself, scraping by as a bail bondsman, working so close to the town's criminal fringes that he sometimes seems a part of them. Kent Austin is the beloved coach of the local high school football team, a religious man and hero in the community. After years of near misses, Kent's team has a shot at the state championship, a welcome point of pride in a town that has had its share of hardships. Just before playoffs begin, the town and the team are thrown into shock when horrifically, impossibly, another teenage girl is found murdered. As details emerge that connect the crime to the Austin brothers, the two must confront their buried rage and grief-and unite to stop a killer. Michael Koryta, widely hailed as one of the most exciting young thriller authors at work today, has written his greatest novel ever-an emotionally harrowing, unstoppably suspenseful novel that Donald Ray Pollock has called "one of the sharpest and superbly plotted crime novels I've read in my life."

The Prophet was a wonderfully written story about grief, family ties, and a suspenseful mystery. I became emotionally invested in each of the brothers’ lives. They were developed in a well rounded way that I could understand each’s point of view; Adam’s guilt, living in the past, and wanting revenge as well as Kent’s decision to forgive, like a good Christian, and learning that life goes on.

What was also identifiable was that though Adam and Kent were estranged, in the end they would still do anything to protect each other. That end sure had me at the edge of my seat and shouting out at the characters, then ultimately I cried at the bitter-sweet outcome.

There were some questions that were not answered or not fully detailed, but it’s acceptable because this was the brothers’ story. Not the police, or the FBI, or the killer’s. It kept it simple and more character driven.

As someone who hates football unless it’s a Friends Thanksgiving episode, or movie and TV series Friday Night Lights, I liked how the football games factored in. (Which makes sense because when they handed this out at Book Con last year they described it as Friday Night Lights meets In Cold Blood.) I didn’t understand the terminology, because I just can’t grasp the rules of the game, but I was rooting for the Cardinals and for their distraught star player.

If you stumped about what you should read next, this would be my recommendation.

4.5 out 5 Touchdowns.

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