The newest thriller from Michael Koryta, New York Times best-selling author.
When 13-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a brutal murder, he's plunged into a new life, issued a false identity and hidden in a wilderness skills program for troubled teens. The plan is to get Jace off the grid while police find the two killers. The result is the start of a nightmare.
The killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are slaughtering anyone who gets in their way in a methodical quest to reach him. Now all that remains between them and the boy are Ethan and Allison Serbin, who run the wilderness survival program; Hannah Faber, who occupies a lonely fire lookout tower; and endless miles of desolate Montana mountains.
The clock is ticking, the mountains are burning, and those who wish Jace Wilson dead are no longer far behind.
©2014 Michael Koryta (P)2014 Hachette Audio
"The Prophet is a relentless, heart-in-your-throat thriller about ordinary people caught in the middle of an extraordinary nightmare." (Dennis Lehane)
"Elegantly written...Koryta shows great sensitivity in examining how each brother deals with these parallel tragedies." (Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
"A delicious read, intricately woven, with characters who are impossible to forget. Michael Koyta excites and satisfies on every level." (Elin Hilderbrand)
"Friday Night Lights meets In Cold Blood in this powerful tale...It's a brilliantly paced thriller that keeps its villains at a tantalizing distance, a compelling family portrait, a study in morality that goes beyond the usual black-and-white judgments, and an entertaining spin on classic football fiction. A flawless performance." (Kirkus, Starred Review)
"Michael Koryta is an amazingly talented writer, and I rank The Prophet as one of the sharpest and superbly plotted crime novels I've read in my life." (Donald Ray Pollock)
How can the characters in this year's True Detective be worse? Ferrill is asexual, drunk, corrupt, a child abuser and worse!
Remember the two creepy villians in the Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever? Well the bad guys here aren't Mr Wint and Mr Kidd, they are the handsome, blond haired, blue eyed Blackwood brothers, but they are every bit as creepy, resourceful and deadly. Like the Bond movie, they carry on polite conversation with each other, in front of their victims, even while inflicting great pain. Certainly Koryta used the Bond villains as his inspiration, and it works exceptionally well.
Since I started with the bad guys, it's important to note they wouldn't be near as creepy and terrifying without the superb reading of Robert Petkoff. His performance is nothing short of magnificent.
Another aspect that makes this novel so interesting is the woodsmanship and wilderness training explained through the Mai character and hero, Ethan Serbin.
This is a fast, suspenseful read!
As consistent as he has always been for me, I think Michael Koryta has just outdone himself this time. This book is superior.
Michael Koryta novels always contain s a well thought out scenario that feel like they have been well researched, including antidotes, details and descriptions that leave you feeling like he is writing about his life’s work in his back yard. The characters are creatively crafted. His writing is flawlessly paced. It just never lets up. The last hours of this I was looking for the button that makes the narrator talk faster; I was so invested into the character and their plight.
The bad guys in this book are so unique and their evil personas are so well constructed that the hair stands straight up on the back of your neck each and every time they come into a scene. When you don’t see them coming, you literally GASP out loud and stop what you’re doing. It just doesn't get better than this.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
As a genre thrillers too often favor action and plot over character development, resulting in a library full of books populated by cardboard heroes and villains. Koryta consistently defies that norm and creates characters that we can invest in emotionally, simultaneously placing them in nail-biting situations. “Those Who Wish Me Dead” is one of his finest with an opening scene that informs us immediately of the deadly seriousness of young Jace’s situation. From that scene forward, the rest of the cast is introduced, and every one of them, good or bad, are drawn with a fine touch. My stomach clenched every time the Blackwell brothers appeared, knowing the cold blooded violence they brought with them. The wilderness instructor and his wife are very good but very human and vulnerable because, in spite of knowing of Jace’s danger, they underestimated the level of evil they faced. Fire on the mountain both compounds their problems and offers unforeseen hope.
The pace is non-stop, and I actually didn’t stop, listening in one long sitting. Koryta never shies away from letting some bad things happen to some of his characters, disdaining improbably coincidental saves. So you never know what’s coming, the tension never lets up. In true Koryta fashion, the ultimate hero of the story will hold your heart. A strong place to start for readers who have not read this author before.
This was a really good fast paced adventure packed story. I would have like if it were a little longer. Characters were pretty fleshed out, enough for the story.
I think I liked Hannah the best. Her story came out little by little through out the book. As a subplot this was superb.
I don't want to spoil this for anyone but I think the scene that touched me the most was towards the end when Hannah sat with Nick on the mountain watching the fire.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The ending was not what I had expected. The brothers were GREAT the way they played off of each other, a some are not who they seem to be. I don't want to say too much but in my "opinion" this was certainly worth the credit.
It's no often that a book brings me to tears and this one did. After speeding through the book to get to the end, the book left me wanting to ponder over specific points and go back and read portions a 2nd time. I want to speculate on Jace's future and how the events in the story will impact his life. (Are we seeing the beginning of a series here?)
The characters in the book are well developed and believable. The story is too. If you are looking for a book that will hold your interest and keep you thinking after you have finished, Those Who Wish Me Dead will do just that.
I purchased this after reading the four Koryta books about Lincoln Perry, P.I. That series was OK, not great, but OK, and enjoyable enough to finish. And for my money, Scott Brick generally raises mediocre up a notch.
However, I found that the writing in this book could not begin to support the level of tragedy supplied by this plot. Koryta should stick to lighter stuff until his writing matures, assuming it does. He does have talent, but he's not really ready for prime time.
The narration was adequate, but there were some characters he didn't do well, especially in instances of high action with raised voices; those parts got irritating.
I think there are plenty of people who would like this, but I would have been happier if I'd gotten this for $4.95 instead of having to use a credit. I was taking a break from some darkly serious listens, but it just wasn't a satisfying change...it did get me through a couple of sleepless nights.
"From this, he took a lesson: value the original, fragile, and rough. That's the art." Holland Carter on the art of Henri Mattisse
This book kept me interested, with a decent plot line, though a little disjointed, and a believable set of psychotic villains, though I thought shortcuts were taken to arrive at the climax, which itself seemed forced to the point of being affectatious. All in all, a good, not great, thriller.
I hope Mr. Koryta brings back such superbly drawn evildoers (or some like the ones here) and put them in a grander story with a little more work on the protagonists.
The villains gave Mr. Petkoff a chance to shine, so I give him 5 stars.
Typical cat lady: lazy, sings off-key, craves spicy bloody marys.
The narration is okay but the story is so far-fetched that it's ridiculous. There are also some good moments where Koryta teaches us about survival and Montana and fire fighting but even then it's pretty preach-y and ham-fisted. All in all, not my favorite 11 hours.
I have to admit that I'm a total Audible junkie. MUST have book going at all times. I may be the subject of a family intervention someday.
Almost did. In 24 hours anyway.
Excellent, shows what the best of this genre can be. An outstanding thriller with well-drawn characters that kept me glued to my headphones. Eye-popping suspense, starting with a real grabber of an opening and leaving me choked up at the end. Ready to chew through this author's whole catalogue.
I wrote a review of this audio book last week. Darned if I can find that review posted anywhere! So that is one disappointment. As for the story itself, there were likable elements. This tale takes place in wild mountainous territory, which was a plus for me. The two primary villains are evil to the core and made all the more so by Robert Petkoff's excellent narration. There is plenty of suspense and action, if a bit too much gore. Now for the disappointments. The author spends far too many words describing characters' thoughts and feelings, and worse, does so with redundancy. That habit creates drag on the momentum of the story. Towards the end of the book, I gave up wading through the verbal angst, whether introspective or as part of dialogue, and started skipping ahead, seeking action scenes. Another bad practice of the author was introducing too many implausible plot twists. I realize this is fiction, but the gullibility of readers has its limits. The most unlikely was the sequence of events in which the main character's wife, Allison (who has been beaten by the bad guys, suffering multiple fractures and facial trauma and burns) checks herself out of the hospital, saddles her horse and heads up into the mountains to rescue her husband, with another woman along for the ride on the same horse, clinging to her injured body. I have worked with trauma patients for many years in a hospital setting. Anyone with that woman's level of injuries would have trouble getting out of bed to use the toilet, let alone manage to saddle a horse with her one useful hand and ride him anywhere. (I'm all for strong female characters, but really, give me a break!) The horse, Tango, is recovering from a broken front leg. He has been immobilized for months in a standing position so that his leg might heal. That horse was not yet fit to ride. He still required additional weeks of rest and physical therapy. Yet his owner, who supposedly loves him, puts the horse in the position of having to carry two riders into the moutains, when it was unlikely that he could be safely asked to carry one. There was the convenient plot tool of the forest fire, which lingered for two days at the bottom of the mountain, only to--surprise!--arrive at the exact location of the main characters at the climax of the story. There were the countless times that characters in danger could have reached out for help from authorities but felt unable to do so because of constraints placed on them by the villains, though ways around those constraints were apparent to me as a reader. Time after time, credibility was stretched too thin in this book.
The biggest disappointment for me was Ethan, Allison's husband, a search and rescue operator in winter and an outdoor survival camp leader of troubled boys in summer. The first chapters emphasize Ethan's extreme confidence, his deliberate calm during crises, his outstanding competence, and so on. Yet things went downhill rapidly for Ethan, who uncharacteristically couldn't seem to make a good decision even if his life depended on one--and it did, along with the lives of many others, especially that of Jace, the boy sought by the killers. The fact that Ethan triumphed at the end didn't make up for all the time he spent acting like a doofus. Every time Ethan got things wrong, I kept imagining Homer Simpson saying his trademark "Doh!" of frustration. I like a good laugh. But humor was not supposed to be provoked by those scenes of Ethan's desperation.
Mr. Petkoff did a great job. Sometimes, while reading the thoughts or speech of a character, he could sound whiny, which is not my favorite tone. But that is how the characters were written to sound during those moments. Mr. Petkoff's reading of the villains' voices was absolutely chilling. Good job!
1) All of the lengthy or redundant introspections and some of the too-long conversations. Less is more. Editors, where are you? 2) The unbelievable plot twists. Suspense is sustained by believability and derailed by incredulity.
One. It seemed to me that most of this story took place during the dark of night, as if there were far more hours of nighttime than daylight. I suppose the author was going for the creepy factor by making the characters wander the woods in the dark most of the time. The problem is that the story takes place mid June, when daylight hours far outnumber hours of darkness.
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