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The Prophet by Michael Koryta (Review #2)

The Prophet by Michael KorytaReviewed by Patricia Reid

Marie Austin was picked up on her way home from school, brutally attacked and killed. The death of Marie had a profound effect on her brothers Adam and Kent. The family was torn apart by the tragedy. Both boys were outstanding football players. Kent went on to become a coach at the high school. Adam became a bondsman and private detective. Adam felt responsible for his sister’s death. He was to pick her up and give her a ride home from school but instead he picked up Chelsea Salinas and spent the evening with her.

Adam is still with Chelsea even though she is married. Her husband is in prison. Adam owns his parents house along with his brother Kent. Adam has reconstructed Marie’s room to be exactly as it was when she was alive and spends many hours in Marie’s room.

Kent has married and loves his job as Coach of the local football team. A championship is in sight and Kent is busy preparing his team. Kent is also deeply religious and became involved in visiting prisoners. Adam is furious that Kent has taken this road in life. Adam still attends the games coached by his brother but there is no closeness between the two brothers. Read the rest of this entry »

The Prophet by Michael Koryta

The Prophet Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

With The Prophet, Michael Koryta returns to the type of book that first made him a bestselling author. After taking a walk on the paranormal side for the last few books, Koryta returns readers to Ohio for a “family in conflict” suspenseful mystery.

The basic plot of The Prophet is set around two bothers Kent and Adam Austin. When they were teenagers, their sister was abducted and found murdered. The loss of their sister nearly destroyed the family and the aftermath has followed the brothers into their adulthood. But different people deal with extreme guilt and grief in different ways. Adam’s life fell apart. He dropped out of Ohio State leaving a very promising football career on the field when he left. Eventually, he returned home to become a bail bondsman. In contrast Kent seemed to reach deep inside himself and gather strength from the tragedy. Kent became deeply religious. He married, became the local high school football coach and is now, finally about to lead the town’s team to a state championship. One brother lives on the edge of society while the other has become a pillar of that same society. And then, unbelievably, another young woman is murdered. The parallels to the earlier crime are just too much for the town. Again, the high school’s team is marching towards a championship and again the Austin brothers are part of that team. When their sister was murdered, Adam was the star of the team. Now it’s his brother Kent who is coaching. The town is left to wonder how this could all be happening again.

Koryta is a master at weaving the plot around the characters’ strengths and flaws in such a way that readers are drawn in to the story almost as characters themselves. As the town tries to sort out what has happened and compares the new murder with the Austin girl’s murder twenty years ago, as a reader I couldn’t help but get caught up in the “isn’t it just a little too much of a coincidence” line of thought of the townspeople. Adam was the football hero in the past and now here is his brother leading the team this time around. The first victim was their sister, now the second victim is again connected to Adam. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ridge by Michael Koryta

The RidgeReviewed by Patricia Reid

Chief Deputy Kevin Kimble is making an early morning drive when he receives a very strange and disturbing phone call. The call is from Wyatt French one of the stranger residents of Kimble’s county. Wyatt lives on a hilltop known as Blade Ridge. Wyatt is famous for his heavy drinking and his residence. Wyatt lives in a lighthouse that lights up the hills surrounding his home. Wyatt’s call is to ask just one question of Kimble and that is if Kimble would rather have a homicide to investigate or a suicide. Kimble finally responds with the answer of suicide.

Kimble’s early drive is a strange one. He makes a monthly visit to prison to visit Jacqueline Mathis. Mathis is serving time for the murder of her husband. Jacqueline also severely injured Kimble although she claims not to remember that she shot him. Kimble thinks that his visits are not common knowledge but his telephone conversation with French reveals that French is well aware of these trips.

Audrey Clark is the owner of a big-cat sanctuary and is in the process of moving the animals to her new location on Blade Ridge. The cats are restless and seem to be dissatisfied with the new sanctuary. Read the rest of this entry »

The Cypress House by Michael Koryta

Reviewed by Patricia Reid

The Cypress House by Michael KorytaReviewed by Patricia Reid

Imagine looking at a whole group of people and seeing a trace of smoke in all their eyes and knowing that that they will all be dead soon. This is what Arlen Wagner experienced one night on a Florida train. This was not the first time Arlen had premonitions of death and it wouldn’t be the last time. Arlen was unable to convince the other men to leave the train but nineteen-year-old Paul Brickhill respected Arlen and agreed to abandon the train. Arlen and Paul were headed for the Florida Keys to help build a bridge. Arlen had met Paul when he went to work for the Civilian Conservation Corps. Paul was a boy from Jersey and Arlen got the feeling that Paul was something special.

Paul and Arlen are stuck at the train station with no hope of a train until the next day so they decide to walk five miles to the nearest boarding house to spend the night. A new car comes by and stops to pick up the two but Arlen is hesitant to accept a ride. Paul, impressed with the car, insists so the two get in the car with a man who introduces himself as Walt Sorenson. This chance meeting ends up with the three arriving at The Cypress House, an isolated
Gulf Coast boardinghouse. Rebecca Cady is a beautiful woman and runs The Cypress House. A hurricane is on the way and Arlen wants to move on but as Sorenson leaves to move his car, the car explodes leaving Sorenson dead and Paul and Arlen stranded. Read the rest of this entry »

So Cold the River by Michael Koryta

Reviewed by Patricia Reid

So Cold the River by Michael KorytaA small sip of mineral water bottled years and years ago sends Eric Shaw on a terrifying journey into the past and into the mind of Campbell Bradford, long dead but not forgotten.

Eric worked in films in Hollywood and returned to Chicago when things began to unravel in Hollywood. His current occupation is doing video life portraits that consist of preparing video montages for memorial services. At the memorial service of Eve Harrelson, Eric meets Alyssa Bradford, Eve’s younger sister. Alyssa is impressed with Eric’s work and hires him to travel to French Lick and West Baden, Indiana to discover the meaning of a light green glass bottle with etching that said Pluto Water, America’s Physic. The bottom of the bottle had an etching of a devil with one hand raised. Alyssa’s 95 year-old father-in-law had brought the bottle with him when he ran away from home some 80 years ago. Read the rest of this entry »