Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bookish Thoughts: The Prophet by Ethan Cross

The Prophet by Ethan Cross
The Story Plant, 2012
Crime Fiction; 400 pgs

From the Publisher:  
Francis Ackerman Jr. is one of America’s most prolific serial killers. Having kept a low profile for the past year, he is ready to return to work – and he’s more brutal, cunning, and dangerous than ever. 
Scarred from their past battles, Special Agent Marcus Williams cannot shake Ackerman from his mind. But now fully integrated into The Shepherd Organization, an underground law enforcement agency, Marcus has to focus on catching the Anarchist, a new killer who drugs and kidnaps women before burning them alive. 
Marcus knows the Anarchist will strike again soon. And Ackerman is still free. But worse than this is a mysterious figure, unknown to the authorities, who controls the actions of the Anarchist and many like him. He is the Prophet – and his plans are more terrible than even his own disciples can imagine. 
With attacks coming from every side, Marcus faces a race against time to save the lives of a group of innocent people chosen as sacrifices in the Prophet’s final dark ritual.

Serial killers make for interesting reading, especially being able to get into their heads and figure our what they are thinking--why they do what they do.  Albeit, it can be scary too.  And no matter how a person grew into a serial killer, how sad his or her story is, it is still hard for the average person to wrap his or her mind around it.    

I used to gobble up books like this on a regular basis, and while I still read these types of thrillers occasionally, it's not nearly as frequently.  So often books like this become too familiar after awhile and it's hard to tell one apart from the other.

Ethan Cross's The Prophet is one of the better ones in terms of execution and characterization.  Cross did a great job of bringing the many threads of his story together.  There are quite a few unexpected twists mixed in with more predictable ones.  Every character, down to the most minor, was well drawn out.  I appreciated the depth of back story for the Anarchist, and especially liked getting a glimpse of him in his personal life, with his family. 

Marcus is one of those all-testosterone male characters, which could easily have been a turn off, but I came to really like him.  He is smart and extremely gifted. He isn't full of himself and he's very dedicated and loyal to his team.  Marcus struggles internally with what he does for a living, and I really liked that aspect of his story.  Although sanctioned by the government to go after violent predators and use any force necessary to find and stop them, he still struggles with the ethical side of his job.  He wonders if he is much different than the killers he is going after.

Ackerman . . . Now he was an interesting character.  I never came to like him--not that I was ever intended to.  He's one scary man.  His obsession with Marcus is explained in the course of the novel, but it doesn't make him any less creepy.

Although I didn't warm up to her right away, Vasques character was one I came to respect quite a bit.  She didn't let ego get in the way of her getting the job done, something that too many people do in her situation.  Or at least in novels like this.  And she definitely held her own with the men in the book, I thought.

Having not read the first book in the series, The Shepherd, I am not sure how much back story I missed in regards to the continuing characters.  Regardless, The Prophet stands well on its own and I felt the author did a good job of setting up the characters and their stories for first time readers.

I liked so much about this novel, and yet . . . And yet I was weary of the violence and, while I liked part of the ending, I wasn't thrilled with another part of it.  I came away from my reading of The Prophet with the realization that this type of novel doesn't hold the same thrall over me that it once did.

Just the same, Ethan Cross definitely is a talented author with a gift for spinning a thrilling story, and I am glad I took a chance on The Prophet.

Rating:  * (Very Good)

To learn more about Ethan Cross and his books, please visit the author's website.

I hope you will check out what others had to say about The Prophet on the Partners in Crime Tour route!

Many thanks to the Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour. E-copy of The Prophet provided by publisher.

© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. Thank you for you honest review. Great post. Thank you.

  2. I used to read books like this all the time too and still do enjoy them from time to time so I'll make a note of this one.

    1. Kathy - I think you'd like it! I think you've got the right idea though--as fun as these books can be, after awhile it's best to take them in moderation. :-) Any type of book really if we want to avoid burn out on a genre, I think.

  3. I don't often read books like this, because as you've said, they all tend to blur together after awhile, but it's good to hear that this one was solidly constructed and that the story was tightly woven. This might be something to look for in the future. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on it with us.

    1. Heather - I feel bad that this book didn't leave more of a mark on me because it really is good. I did like it quite a bit. It'll probably be awhile though before I pick up something like this again.

  4. I used to read books like these all the time. I seem to have always been fascinated by serial killers but now tend to read more of the true crime non-fiction stories about them.

    1. Kathleen - I've never really taken to true crime books. I'm not sure why. I've read a couple good ones over the years--and some not so good ones.

  5. I know what you mean about how these thrillers get too formulaic after awhile. But, it still sounds pretty good so I might just have to download his first one and give it a try. Thanks for your well-written review!

  6. That is an honest review. I have found my reading tastes have shifted over the last year as well. I haven't read a thriller in a while. I plan my next one to be the next instalment of the Sophie Anderson series. Have you tried that one yet? by PD Martin? But yes most of these thrillers are all the same these days and seem to try and be as violent as possible. I am weary of them too and just dont have the stomach for them anymore either.

    1. Caspette - I was going through my shelves recently and pulled out a few books that no longer really interest me. It makes me a little sad, but I don't know if I'll ever feel like reading them again.

      I haven't tried Sophie Anderson or PD Martin. I'll have to look them up.

  7. Sounds good but also scary!! Not one I could read alone!


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