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The Prophet

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.

Audio Excerpt


"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."


"The Prophet is a relentless, heart-in-your-throat thriller about ordinary people caught in the middle of an extraordinary nightmare."

—Dennis Lehane

"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 Pollack

"This is a thriller that keeps its villains at a distance ensuring that they enhance rather than hinder the action, and provides a vivid portrayal of life in a small town, and a compelling family portrait, all encased in a morality tale that ruthlessly exposes the protagonists' weaknesses. There is also a surprisingly entertaining spin on the classic football fiction story. The plot has more twists and turns than a quarterback looking for a space to make a killer pass before its brutal climax."

—Reviewing the Evidence

“After three supernatural thrillers, Thriller Award–finalist Koryta (The Ridge) triumphantly returns to crime fiction with this multilayered exploration of guilt and redemption…Koryta has a gift for melding a suspenseful, twisty plot with a probing, unflinching look at his protagonists’ weaknesses.” STARRED Review

—Publishers Weekly

“Edgar nominated mystery wunderkind Koryta (he turns 30 this year) has earned kudos from veteran thriller writers Stephen King and Dean Koontz. He proves plenty worthy of praise in this vivid portrayal of a small Midwestern town and the evils that befall it…With its crisp writing and steady suspense, this is a must-read for his fans both old and new.” STARRED Review


“Koryta’s (The Ridge) latest thriller powerfully portrays the angst of the dysfunctional family stretched to the breaking point by blame and guilt. The tension and suspense is relieved only by scenes depicting Kent’s football team in fierce combat at the state finals. Gut-wrenching at every level.” STARRED Review

—Library Journal

“Koryta's latest book shows him gaining strength as a writer of thrillers -- more Dennis Lehane than Stephen King. His plotting is innovative, and he's masterful creating a sense of something wicked this-way-coming…this up-and-coming author has produced a compelling page-turner, notable for its nuanced sense of humanity and loss, not blood and gore.”

—Cleveland Plain-Dealer

“…a powerful psychological portrait of two brothers whose lives were shattered by their sister's terrible death...confrontation with evil is a theme throughout The Prophet, along with its corollary: how we behave in the face of it. Koryta skillfully contrasts the two brothers, telling the story from their alternating points of view and ratcheting up the suspense. The book's detailed accounts of football games don't slow the action but complement it and deepen the portraits of Adam and Kent."

—Tampa Bay Times

“The reader learns why the man mostly lurks in the shadows in a twisting, surprising and satisfying finish that ends the story as strongly as it begins.”

—San Francisco Chronicle

“Elegantly written”

—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

“Michael Koryta is a superb storyteller.”


“From rising suspense star Michael Koryta, a tale of two estranged brothers whose sister was murdered and abducted. Years later, the brothers reunite to catch a murderer when another teenage girl turns up dead.”

—Wall Street Journal