The Prophet by Michael Koryta is a mystery about two estranged brothers in a small Ohio town. When they were teenagers, their sister was murdered, and this tragedy shapes the directions their lives have taken. The older brother, Adam, is a bail bondsman with a private detective’s license and lives at the fringes of the criminal world. The younger brother, Kent, is the coach of the high school football team, which is undefeated and headed for the state championship. A religious man, Kent visits prisons to offer spiritual comfort to inmates. The two brothers have not spoken to each other for years, because Adam won’t forgive Kent for visiting the man who killed their sister. Adam was supposed to drive his sister home the night she was killed, but instead decided to spend time with his girlfriend, and he has never been able to get over his guilt. Kent, who also felt horrible about what happened, found comfort in football and religion, and decided to move on.
A teenage girl, the girlfriend of the star player on Kent’s team, asks Adam for the address of her father, who has just been released from prison. Adam gives her the address, but the girl ends up getting murdered. Naturally, for Adam and Kent, the murder brings back memories of what happened to their sister. As it turns out, the dead girl’s father is still in prison, and a killer was impersonating him. Now the killer is stalking Kent and his family. The two brothers must learn to work together and face their guilt in order to catch the killer.
The book is extremely suspenseful and keeps you turning the pages, and the plot takes many twists and turns that I didn’t expect. Koryta writes beautifully, with vivid descriptions of the Ohio town where the book takes place, and his characters all seem like real people. The Prophet is an outstanding mystery.
The Prophet can be borrowed from the Browsing Collection at the Shapiro Undergraduate Library: http://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/012496361 .