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.
Michael Koryta, long hailed as one of the best young thriller writers at work today, has written his greatest novel ever - an emotionally harrowing, unstoppably suspenseful novel that proves why Michael Connelly has named him "one of the best of the best".
©2012 Michael Koryta (P)2012 Hachette Audio
Say something about yourself!
Go ahead -- get this book, listen and love it, check the box below that says this review was not helpful; I am obviously suffering from a major disconnect, and am just a hater, a buzz-kill loner on the opposite side of better qualified reviewers, publishers, and award-winning authors cheering for this book: Kirkus, James Patterson, Dennis Lehane, Dean Koontz, Michael Connelly, and Stephen King. But, before I stand and face head-on the torrent of rotten tomatoes and cabbages sure to be lobbed in my direction, I feel that just making it all the way to the goal posts on this one earned me the right to say my piece... One more confession -- I am not a fan of football and have never seen one episode of Friday Night Lights (no throwing before I finish), though I do like a yearly game of fall college football.
This book is largely about football with a murder mystery that darts in and out of a small community high school's football season -- gives the term *go long* whole new meaning. The coach is a gentle God-fearing man, his brother a hard nosed bail bondsman; both were football players, both are haunted by the loss of their sister who was kidnapped and murdered while they were in high school. The brothers' diferences are played out much like two opposing teams on a field, each with different approaches, strengths, and weaknesses. The play by play goes back and forth between the opposition of the brothers, tracking down a copycat murderer, and taking back the state title--rah rah. (You love it already-non?)
This was my 3rd Koryta novel. In the previous novels I also struggled to stay in the zone for 3 reasons: 1) Koryta likes to layer the plots with *pink herrings*-- they don't actually mislead the reader, but they are usually not more than extraneous filler (like the pages upon pages of fourth quarter play options, or the cousin-of-the-offender's-girlfriend's-neighbor) instead of clever enjoyable diversions. 2) His characters are often only lighlty sketched psych cases that don't quite hit the point of being unique or fascinating psychopaths, and dwell more in the hazy realm of criminal deviants, and often overly cliched (overly cliched) personalities. 3) He also is a fan of *false endings,* that keep going on to a nicely-wrapped predictable ending, instead of the *I didn't see that one coming!* ending I think he is aiming for. The Koryta formula, I've experienced in 3 reads, adds up to an OK book...3*. Why only 2*? Because I was b o r e d; didn't really care about the characters; ridiculously predictable--figured it all out, even who would win the big game; couldn't buy into the plot; and even if it was a 3* up to the ending--the ending had me swimming in fondue...cheesy. So there you have it. Boo, hiss, and chuck those tomatoes. I'll understand, because that's the exact feeling I had when I finished this one. *Seriously, I think 99% will like this one--I am the 1%.
Way too much football drama in a book that was intended as a murder mystery. The story never held my interest, but I stayed with it hoping there was going to be an ending that would intrigue me; no such luck.
I'm afraid I have throw my lot in with Melinda and Brad here among reviewers. Bought because I'm a big Petkoff fan...didn't finish it, unfortunately.
Even speaking as a fan of football (tho' professional), there was indeed way too much of it and not enough to keep the thing moving for me.
I may dig in and force my way through the rest at some point, but my queue is too backed up to not move along to something more compelling.
Lover of good cops and robbers books, Anne Tyler, Robert Parker, Dennis Lehane, James Lee Burke.
This author and narrator matchup is nearly as good as the Burke/Patton duo. I was pleasantly surprised at the clean writing, the genuine capturing of two brothers' relationship, and a real depiction of small town life. I sorta forgot about the crime because I wanted to read about the characters' lives. I really cared about them.
Baseball is my game, but the thrill of high school football is truly depicted here and reading about Adam's last drive had me cheering. Just great writing.
There have been a few books over the last month that I didn't finish because I just got tired of prolonged and gross violence, the degradation and destruction of a human being. I wonder about the people who think this stuff up.
Koryta, on the other hand, writes a compelling story without a madman eating a child's heart still beating or people's heads on spikes. I cut my teeth on McKinty's trilogy so I'm no faint of heart pantywaist, but enough is enough. The lack of gore in The Prophet was because the story and writing was so stellar, the story so real, it didn't need to shock us.
I just ordered another title by Koryta and look forward to reading the rest. It's just unfortunate Brick reads a lot of them.
Robert Petkoff is outstanding!!
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
Koryta does not write easy books, especially his non-Lincoln Perry books. Characters are complex, flawed and often just wrong. But they are written just right. Adam and Kent Austin are brothers who have spent 22 years trying to cope with the tragic murder of their sister in their own ways - and have become estranged in the process. Then another similar murder occurs with the victim having the slenderest of connections to both brothers, and they are forced to confront each other and their past. They have to find out why the killer is using their past to manipulate the present.
Football plays a large role in this story - Kent is the high school coach, and there is a significant amount of time spent discussing games, strategy and players. If you have only a passing interest in football, or no interest, try to just get the gist of what is being said - the technicalities of the game are not critical to the narrative. But if you can see the game of football as an allegory for the lives of the two protagonists, you see how their approach to the game dictated their responses to the defining event in their lives, and how they will respond to the current crisis. As I write this I realize that football-as-life sounds like a cliche, but Koryta manages it with dexterity. The characters are not caricatures.
The mystery solving portion of the story is very real, each person behaving as they must, right or wrong. Mistakes are made that cannot be taken back, forcing new decisions on others. The suspense and foreboding mount, leading to the inevitable conclusion. Koryta has added yet another heroic antihero to his list. I swallowed this book almost whole - sacrificing sleep, unwilling to let it go.
I rate as follows: 5 Stars = Loved it. 4 Stars = Really liked it. 3 Stars = Liked it. 2 Stars = Didn't like it. 1 Star = Hated it -The Great Mutato
Koryta tells a mean story that captivates and brings you into the lives if the characters. His dialogue is believable and you can't wait to find out what happens next.
This is a well constructed plot-- very engaging.
Good display of the driving power of guilt.
Different voices for different characters-- consistent with their development.
There were times that was true.
My wife and I started this in the car, listened for a few hours and when we got home, put in on in the house and continued to the halfway point - gripping!
The writer does a great job with each scene - you feel that you are there.
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