Excerpt from The Prophet by Michael Koryta, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Prophet

By Michael Koryta

The Prophet
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Aug 2012,
    416 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2013,
    432 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

The entire bail process was uniquely American. There were only two countries in the world that allowed a private businessman to pay to secure a prisoner's release—America and the Philippines. Criticism of the idea lay in the fact that defendants paid a nonrefundable sum to get out of jail, presenting an unfair burden on the innocent. Adam wasn't interested, and never had been, in the moral merits of his profession. What he was interested in was the promise made with every bond he posted: he'd see that his wards faced their day in court. It was a small role, maybe, and hardly glamorous, but it counted. He knew just how much it counted.

Any curiosity he had over April Harper faded as the week progressed. On Thursday, which was a busy day on the Chambers County criminal court dockets, two of his own failed to show up for their hearings. One was facing his third round of charges for drunk driving. The second had a more serious charge, prison time likely, for selling OxyContin and Vicodin. Many people couldn't fathom the idea of simply failing to appear for a court date in a criminal case. They expected that the police would come after you then, expected SWAT teams kicking in doors and detectives sitting in surveillance vans, everyone vigorous and vigilant until the missing offender was caught. Much of the time, though, that would never happen. There were too many warrants, too many inmates, too many active cases. Police were overworked, prisons were overpopulated, and if you didn't show up for your court date, law enforcement wasn't necessarily going to come looking for you unless you were a high-profile offender. Enter Adam Austin, owner and operator of AA Bail Bonds.

He'd come for you.

The class of people Adam posted bond for didn't work nine-to-fives and didn't own alarm clocks. They didn't go to sleep; they passed out. They didn't fear missing a court date, because they were in no hurry to listen to their public defender explain why a plea bargain was the best option. Most of them simply paid their surety and walked out the door, and then they either showed up for court or they didn't. When they didn't, Adam got the call, and went hunting. Like with most forms of hunting, you had your best luck if you understood your prey and knew their territory. Adam was an excellent hunter. He'd float between bars and trailer parks and he'd intimidate when he could and open his wallet for bribes when he could not and he would work every angle until he got a lead that counted. It was a game of diligence, and Adam had diligence to spare. That had been put in him long ago, and it hadn't faded over time.

Never would.

On Friday after April Harper's visit, Adam learned that he had one skip missing, a painkiller-dealing gent named Jerry Norris. It was the third time Adam had held a bond for Jerry and the third time he'd gone missing. Adam wasn't overly worried about tracking him down, but he did know it would make for a late night, because he wouldn't be able to start until after the football game. The last place he wanted to be was at Chambers High School, but tonight was a playoff game, the first, and he would not miss a playoff game for his brother. He had never missed one before and he would not start now. Marie wouldn't let him. Marie might not have approved of what Adam was, but he attended to the things he knew she'd have demanded, and watching her little brother's team take a run at the state championship was one of them. Marie wouldn't allow Adam to miss the playoffs, no matter the circumstances. He'd tried it once, but he'd felt her ghost heavy around him, and the most frightening of ghosts is a disappointed one.

When the lights came on, he'd be in the stands.

One of Kent's preferences for a football game was that the kickoff be handled routinely. Big plays to open the game excited the fans, but not him, not even when they went his way. He'd just as soon see the ballgame get its start with a first and ten from the twenty every time out. High school kids were emotional atom bombs, and it was good to settle them down early.

Excerpted from The Prophet by Michael Koryta. Copyright © 2012 by Michael Koryta. Excerpted by permission of Little Brown & Company. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  163The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist


Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.