This is the one, the novel that made me become so fussy about psychological thrillers, setting the bar so high, it’s almost impossible that another one will ever meet it, much less surpass it. The Prophet is insanely brilliant and truly terrifying. Atmospheric in its setting with authentic small town characterisation and a complex plot that is entirely faultless. It’s also the only psychological thriller that has brought me to tears, and by tears, I mean heaving sobs that had me putting the book down and cursing Michael Koryta for his blinding brilliance. As the story builds to its conclusion, there’s a raw pain that lifts from the page and settles onto the reader’s shoulders, leaving you bereft for these characters and all they’ve had to endure.
I’ve gifted The Prophet several times since its 2012 publication. Making it one of my book a day picks urges me to read it again so I can review it properly.
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. When details emerge that connect the crime to the Austin brothers, the two are forced to unite to stop a killer – and to confront their buried rage and grief before history repeats itself again.