The Prophet by Michael Koryta
Read by Robert Petkoff
Length: 11 Hrs 49 Min
Quick Thoughts: The Prophet is a crime novel with literary flair. It is a tale of redemption and relationships which can uplift your spirit while devastating your soul. Koryta continues to prove that no matter what genre he is tackling, he is one of the best storytellers working today.
I am a fan of the sport of football, at least its American version. Almost every Sunday in the fall, I find my self a comfortable spot, and grab a cold beer as I watch my favorite professional Football team making their way through a grueling schedule to eventually not win The Super Bowl. I live in a city whose fans don’t have the greatest reputation, unless you enjoy the snowball throwing, Santa booing, visiting fan taunting, injury cheering reputation the national media likes to give us denizens of the City of Brotherly love. Yet, beyond watching the games, some rowdy sports conversation, and occasionally taking part in Fantasy Football, I am not obsessed with the sport. My town doesn’t shut down before each high school football game. I have no idea the names of the local high school, or even college football coaches. The last time I actually went to a Football game, was my senior year in High School when my Harry S Truman Tigers continued their winless streak by giving up a last minute Kickoff return for a touchdown. Yet, I have watched shows like Friday Night Lights, and read books like The Prophet and get amazed by how important this game is to people. I used to believe that the obsessive nature of football fanaticism was overblown by such portrayals, but I’ve been assured by people in the know, that it isn’t. Yet, I have to say, reading The Prophet and watching Friday Night Lights made me wish I gave a crap about my local High School Football Team. Pennsylvania isn’t an easy place to be a football fan right now, with Michael Vick heading the Eagles, and Penn State’s earned disgrace. Yet, I’m sure, there are plenty of kids still playing this sport for the love of the game.
After a series of excellent novels with a Paranormal tilt, Michael Koryta returns to the Crime Thriller genre that he made his name in with his excellent Lincoln Perry series. In The Prophet, a small Ohio town is rocked by a murder of a 17 year old girl. For two brothers Adam, a local bail bandsman and skip trace, and Kent, the celebrated High School Football Coach, the murder is personal. Not only had they both interacted with the girl right before her death, but years ago their own sister was abducted and murdered. I have to admit, describing the plot of The Prophet doesn’t do it justice. Koryta doesn’t break a lot of new ground, and brings lots of recognizable images to his tale. A sadistic taunting killer. A broken man seeking redemption. A family terrorized by the evil. It’s all been done before. Yet, Koryta brings such depth and emotion to the tale, it hard to think of it being done better than this. Koryta has created two brilliant characters in Kent and Adam Austin. Throughout this tale I hated and loved them, sympathized and judged them, yet by the end, I was totally engaged with their struggles. The underlining mystery of the tale was well plotted, yet it was almost secondary to the personal journeys of the main characters. Then there was the football. The football segments of this novel where as well executed as Friday Night Lights without all the bratty teenage angst. As Koryta uses the hunt for the killer as the barometer for Adam’s soul, he likewise uses the playoff journey of Kent’s team as glimpse into this more guarded man’s inner struggles. To bring it all together, Koryta pulls off an ending that is both devastating, yet full of hope. It’s truly an example of a master storyteller at the top of his game. The Prophet is a crime novel with literary flair. It is a tale of redemption and relationships which can uplift your spirit while devastating your soul. Koryta continues to prove that no matter what genre he is tackling, he is one of the best storytellers working today.
Robert Petkoff is a master at bringing just the right mood to the novel he is reading. There isn’t much need for vocal gymnastics, or a multitude of unique character voices in The Prophet but what is needed is an understanding of the characters and Petkoff definitely has this. Petkoff pulled me into this world, and never let me leave. His reading just felt organic, never distracting me from the tale. There is a simplicity to this production that totally fits the tale. Hachette productions will sometimes use music or other effects to help set the tone for a production, but they knew this was unnecessary for this tale. They recognized that Michael Koryta is a storyteller, and all they needed was someone to tell his tale. This is what Petkoff does. The Prophet is another winner for the team of Koryta, Petkoff and Hachette Audio.
Note: A special thanks to Hachette Audio for providing me with a copy of this title for review. The Prophet is available in Print, Digital, and Audio versions Tuesday, August 7th.