Book Talk-Two U.S. brothers divided and united by murder

Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:05am EDT
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By Nick Olivari

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Divided by the abduction and murder of their teenage sister decades ago, two brothers in a small Ohio town must overcome their adversarial relationship when faced with a new killing that has seemingly random ties to each of them.

In "The Prophet," the ninth novel from 29-year-old Michael Koryta, one brother feels the guilt of allowing his sister to walk home alone and finds solace in cigarettes, alcohol and dealing with the flotsam of life as a bail bondsman.

The other stokes the aspirations of young men as coach of the high school football team in the decaying former steel town. His atonement is visiting prisoners to lead a Bible study class.

Koryta, a former private investigator and newspaper reporter with a degree in criminal justice, splits his time between Bloomington, Indiana, and St. Petersburg, Florida, and has seen his work published in 21 countries.

He talked with Reuters about the book, how he formulates the story and characters and his penchant for the crime genre.

Q: How did you compose these characters?

A: "An aunt I never met was killed by a drunk driver walking home from school. It was a substantial story in my mother's family, her sister. Since I was young, I thought of a book on the loss of a sibling. How people would cope with grief over time.

"My mother's father was a minister. My father's father was anything but a minister. In the book one character coped by going the faith route, a family. The other became a bail bondsman, a violent man, a drinker. They have parted ways completely until a new crime forces reconciliation."   Continued...