In the mood for some crime and suspense earlier this week, I decided to give The Prophet by Michael Koryta a try after being instantly intrigued by both the cover and synopsis. The Prophet focuses on two brothers who haven’t spoken to each other in years. Adam Austin, a bail bondsman and private investigator still clings desperately to the memory of his younger sister Marie, who was murdered when she was just sixteen. Rather than driving Marie home from school, Adam left his sister to walk the few blocks alone and never saw her again. Unable to overcome the guilt that still plagues him, Adam’s only wish is that he had been given the chance to kill his sister’s murderer.
Kent Austin, on the other hand, is the beloved coach of a local high school football team, and turned to religion as his means of coping with the death of Marie. Unable to understand his brother’s desperation for revenge, the two keep their distance from each other. When another local teenage girl is found murdered, however, Adam and Kent are forced to confront their shared grief. As details of the murder begin to emerge, the Austin brothers realize that they will need to work together in order to bring the killer to justice.
Michael Koryta definitely knows how to spin a great story. I loved how he placed a lot of the novel’s focus on the relationship between Adam and Kent and their struggle to understand one another. The crime and suspense aspect of The Prophet was also well executed, and left me clenching the novel in desperation to see the killer brought to justice. Just when I thought that the murder had been solved and the novel was wrapping everything up happily, however, a complete twist caught me by surprise! All I can say is prepare yourself to be shocked!
The only thing that I didn’t really enjoy about The Prophet was its intense focus on football. While I can see men (or women who are fans of football), enjoying the chapters dedicated to Kent’s training of the football team, my eyes tended to glaze over at these parts in the book. I’ve never been much of a sports fan, and understand absolutely nothing about football, so most of these chapters tended to go right over my head. Despite my lack of knowledge of football, however, it was obvious that Koryta was using the game for symbolic purposes in the book, which I’m sure football fans will especially appreciate.