The Prophet by Michael Koryta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Austin brothers haven't spoken in years, not since high school when their sister was abducted and murdered when one of them should have been driving her home. Now, Kent is a football coach and Adam is a hard-drinking bail bondsman. When Adam unwittingly sends another girl to her doom, the two brothers must work together to find her killer...
Holy. Shit. This was one hell of a book.
The Prophet, while appearing initially to be a crime book, is really about what happens to families after a tragedy. In this case, it's about how Marie Austin's death sent her brothers in opposite directions and how another girl's death eventually brought them back together.
Adam Austin can't seem to get past his sister's death and hides from it with alcohol and a simmering capacity for violence. Kent Austin threw himself into his career as a high school football coach and the church. It would have been easy for Koryta to make either of them a stereotype but they are both well-rounded characters. It's a testament to Koryta's skill that he made me care about Kent's high school football team's winning season, which takes up a large part of the book.
I can't say enough good things about this book. Koryta had me guessing up until the end. It knew it wouldn't be a happily ever after ending but it still hit me like a shotgun blast to the chest. I may have let a man tear escape before the final page was turned.
The Prophet looks like a fairly standard crime book on the surface. A psychopath is on the loose and police can't seem to catch him. A certain wise man likened The Prophet to Mystic River, which I think is very accurate. The Prophet is one of those books that transcends genre and proceeds to kick ass on several levels. Five out of five stars.
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