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Best of 2016 Lists

What a year 2016 has been for Rise the Dark! Here are a few of the “best of” lists that feature this electrifying read:

The New York Times

In Koryta’s latest nightmare, a self-anointed messiah capable of calling up a homegrown army of “more than 200 heavily armed and deeply paranoid white men” is preparing to shut down the electrical grid supplying energy to half the country. (“Good night, Seattle. Good night, Portland.”) To motivate the only lineman with the nerve and technical skills to pull off the job, the crazies are holding his wife hostage.


“Again proving himself one of today’s top thriller writers, Koryta creates edgy suspense not with trickery but with characters who test the limits of their courage.”

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

It’s been said many times that there are only about five different plots, and they all revolve around power, greed, revenge, sex and love. But it is what the authors do with those plots and the characters that makes the difference. A plot — no matter how involving — will not work if the characters are not believable.

Huffington Post: Koryta’s Talent is No Fluke

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Koryta’s RISE THE DARK Proves His Talent Is No Fluke

BY Jackie K. Cooper, August 20, 2016

Last year I stumbled across the novel LAST WORDS by Michael Koryta. I really enjoyed the story and enjoyed the author’s talent. However I thought possibly this one novel was a fluke. I have been lured in by good stories in the past and when I selected to read the author’s next novel it was a major disappointment. Thus I approached Koryta’s new novel RISE THE DARK with feelings of trepidation. This book was a sequel to the other Koryta novel I had read and I am also wary of sequels. So with RISE THE DARK I was concerned with both his talent and the story.

Now I am happy to report RISE THE DARK is not a letdown. If anything it is even better than LAST WORDS. Once again we are drawn into the world of Private Investigator Markus Novak as he attempts to find out details about his wife Lauren’s murder. Lauren was killed in Cassadaga, Florida and the last words she left on a notepad in her car were “Rise the dark.”

Garland Webb was convicted of her murder but now through some legal technicality he has been released from prison. Markus is determined to find him and to force him to tell why Lauren was killed. In addition to gaining information he also plans to get revenge.

His search for Webb takes him to Red Lodge, Montana, a place he knows well since he grew up there. Ominous thoughts swell around him as he finds himself in familiar surroundings and filled with unwanted memories.

Michael Koryta is very creative in his creation of characters, but he is even more successful in his establishment of place. I have never visited the state of Montana but having read this book I have a keen sense of what the countryside there looks like, and a feel for the inhabitants who reside there.

RISE THE DARK has a very convoluted plot but in Koryta’s hands it is very easy to understand. There are conspiracies against the entire country as well as feuds between a few people. People are kidnapped, assaulted and murdered and these acts of violence occur swiftly. You can never lower your guard once you enter the world Koryta has created for it is a place of violence and one where no character is safe from harm.

Having read this second book of Koryta’s I can now safely place him on my list of “must read” authors. He has proven the talent displayed in LAST WORDS is not a fluke and that he is a writer of consistent greatness. I will be eagerly awaiting his next novel.

The New York Times Finds Eerie Thrills in Rise the Dark

The Latest and Best in Crime Fiction

By MARILYN STASIO, August 19, 2016

NYTWelcome to Michael Koryta’s latest nightmare. In RISE THE DARK, Eli Pate, a self-anointed messiah capable of calling up a homegrown army of “more than 200 heavily armed and deeply paranoid white men,” is preparing to shut down the electrical grid supplying energy to half the country. (“Good night, Seattle. Good night, Portland.”) Very few,  very brave linemen have the nerve and technical skills to pull off this feat. One of them is Jay Baldwin from Red Lodge, Mont., and to ensure his participation Eli’s confederates are holding Jay’s wife hostage. “When darkness fell, chaos would reign,” and Eli intends to be “the man who controlled the chaos.”

Meanwhile, across the country in Cassadaga, a little Florida town populated mostly by “registered mediums,” Koryta’s private detective, Mark Novak, is searching for the psychic his wife consulted before she was murdered. In one of those wonderfully eerie scenes that always manage to creep into Koryta’s novels, Mark has a brief exchange with a little blond boy who’s standing on a ladder to pick oranges from a tree. (“He was incredibly pale for Florida, with bright blue eyes.”) He’s the littlest psychic in town, it seems, but he puts a fright into the detective. Us too.

Koryta isn’t entirely successful in his attempt to merge these two plots into a cohesive whole, but each one has its distinct thrills. On the domestic terrorism front, it’s the horror of watching Eli convince his various extremist “brothers” that bringing down the electrical grid is a political act committed in their name. Meanwhile, Mark’s hunt for his wife’s killer picks up steam when he heads for Wyoming and enlists the aid of his slow-talking, straight-shooting Uncle Larry. But Mark will never be out of the psychic woods, certainly not after his own mother — a bogus medium who, in her younger days, used to dye her hair and skin, posing as Snow Creek Maiden of the Nez Percé to bilk tourists — shocks him with a reading that should propel him right into his next adventure.

Michael Talks with the Indy Star

Michael talks with the IndyStar and shares how his father’s job at Indiana University influenced parts of the plot in Rise the Dark.

Electric thrills guide Michael Koryta’s ‘Rise the Dark’

By David Lindquist,  August 16, 2016

In new novel “Rise the Dark,” Indiana author Michael Koryta pits his protagonist, private investigator Markus Novak, against a fringe group that wants to control power — electric power.

With bad guys planning to attack the power grid and turn out the lights for half of the United States, “Rise the Dark” has roots in Koryta’s childhood.

The Bloomington resident didn’t grow up thinking a sinister enemy wanted to cut the conveniences of television and air conditioning. His father, however, was responsible for keeping electricity flowing at Indiana University.

Jim Koryta retired in 2012 after working 36 years as senior electrical engineer on campus.

“My sister and I grew up with electricity and power outages being very central to our lives,” Michael Koryta said. “When the phone rang at 2 a.m., you had an idea that it was going to be a power outage.”

Koryta’s 12th novel is his second to feature Novak as the main character. Following 2015’s “Last Words” and its exploration of caves in Southern Indiana, “Rise the Dark” has action set on high-transmission lines in Montana and Wyoming.

Although Jim Koryta wasn’t part of a “high-line crew,” Michael said his father always expressed admiration for those workers.

“It added the real understanding of the human element that goes into fixing these things,” Koryta said. “You’re dealing with physically demanding work, and it’s extremely dangerous.”

Fear factory: Eli Pate, the criminal mastermind of “Rise the Dark,” wants to experiment with mob mentality and the viral nature of fear. He is not aligned with ISIS, right-wing militias or militant environmentalists, but his “Wardenclyffe” crew isn’t opposed to any of these groups. “This guy does not have a political point to make in the least,” Koryta said. “He’s just a sociopath who sees the potential of activating other groups by understanding the fears that set them off.”

Personal research: Koryta looked back to his days as a reporter for The Bloomington Herald-Times when crafting “Rise the Dark’s” Eli Pate character. In 1999, Indiana University student Benjamin Nathaniel Smith killed Won-Joon Yoon, a Korean graduate student at the school, as part of a three-day killing spree in Illinois and Indiana. Smith followed the teachings of white supremacist leader Matthew F. Hale. Koryta interviewed Hale before and after he was convicted in 2005 of soliciting an FBI informant to kill a federal judge. “He was kind of ahead of his time in the way he used the internet as a recruiting tool,” Koryta said of Hale. “Now it has grown to the point where the people who are being radicalized for any cause are generally not going to have a face-to-face recruiter.”

The threat: Regarding the possibility of an attack in which the U.S. electrical grid is taken down, Koryta said it’s not a far-fetched idea. The nation relies on a nearly 200,000-mile network of high-transmission lines, and the author mentioned hospitals and nursing homes as at-risk entities. “The potential of that kind of attack is really very sobering,” Koryta said. “It could be catastrophic in warm-weather months or in warm-weather areas if the grid stayed down for any length of time.”

What’s next: Koryta has spent most of his summer in Maine, where he is working on a third novel of Markus Novak adventures. He also revised a script for a possible film adaptation of his 2014 novel “Those Who Wish Me Dead” for 20th Century Fox. And awaiting a green light is a TV mini-series adaptation of Koryta’s 2012 novel “The Prophet.” Channing Tatum, star of two “Magic Mike” films and “Foxcatcher,” is attached to portray one of “The Prophet’s” lead characters. “It depends on whether and when Channing Tatum says it’s his priority,” Koryta said of the timetable.

AP: Rise the Dark is “Filled with Suspense”

In the Associated Press’ review of Rise the Dark, they say “Koryta has a gift for terrific suspense that immerses the reader while also delivering prose that almost reads like poetry.”

Here’s the full review by the AP from the Star Tribune :

‘Rise the Dark’ by Michael Koryta is filled with suspense

Mark Novak, seen previously in Michael Koryta’s “Last Words,” is still seeking answers regarding the murder of his wife in “Rise the Dark.”

Garland Webb, the man responsible for killing Lauren Novak, walks away a free man on a technicality. Mark knows Garland is responsible, but can he prove it? The words “Rise the Dark” were written in Lauren’s notebook prior to her death, and the cryptic message has been elusive.

In a small town in Montana, Sabrina Baldwin watches her husband, Jay, head out to repair a downed power line. She showers, and when she steps out, she’s shocked to see a man waiting for her. Garland shoots her with a tranquilizer dart and his bold plan begins.

Mark visits the site of his wife’s murder and learns that he’s a pawn in a game where his survival is doubtful. Garland knows every move Mark is going to make, and the truth behind Lauren’s cryptic message will ruin the lives of many people. Jay learns of his wife’s kidnapping and realizes he will have to betray everything he holds dear in order to win her freedom.

Koryta has a gift for terrific suspense that immerses the reader while also delivering prose that almost reads like poetry. Some of the answers that Mark finds are a bit hard to believe, but that’s a minor bump in the road that should definitely be traveled.


Rise the Dark Reviews Keep Coming

The kind words about Rise the Dark keep coming:


“Koryta’s last three novels represent the high water mark for modern thriller writing and whatever he writes next I will be reading.”

—CrimeFictionLover’s review 


Book Reporter doesn’t think you’ll be able to stop reading once you start:

“This is a thriller of the highest caliber that will dare readers to put it down before reaching the exciting climax.”