Imagine reading your obituary just before assassins enter your house and read it in the newspaper. Agent Saul Marshall is on the case when a cult begins murdering people in Richard Davis’ novel False Prophet (A Saul Marshall Thriller Book). Saul may be officially off the case when the cult kidnaps his son, but the game has shifted and it’s winner takes all now. The first volume of the Saul Marshall Thriller series is titled False Prophet.
In a scene that would enhance any horror film, False Prophet begins with the reader acting as an observer. A man reads his obituary in the newspaper, hears the voice of his kid who has gone missing, and then the assailants arrive. The reader is taken on an up-and-down, adrenaline-filled trip with the wisecracking, rule-breaking Agent Saul Marshall because they must know how that kill was accomplished. The action is so beautifully coordinated and artistically produced that the reader can barely breathe. Readers will find False Prophet to be a fast-paced race against time. Dishes can wait; Saul’s son needs to be saved right away!
Because False Prophet is the first novel in the Saul Marshall series, it has several drawbacks. Saul is a typical loose cannon who has seen and done too much and who always seems to be one step ahead of everyone. He is one of those men who tells us all he knows and, of course, knows everything. Davis is obviously a knowledgeable individual who feels obligated to share the knowledge that informs the story with his audience. Saul is a fraudster. He tells us everything he sees since he is trained to observe everything. There are moments when the minutia reads as action, such in Barry Eisler’s John Rain, but most of the time it dances about the edges of detracting from what is really a pretty fast reading piece.
Ivan Drexler is every bit the deliciously nasty and absolutely mad bad guy you’d hope for in a great thriller. Any rational person would be scared that he could be roaming the streets unnoticed while someone like him would go unnoticed. He is a charismatic cult leader who ran away from an asylum and is motivated by his hatred of Saul. Drexler is a real sociopath in the vein of Andrew Scott’s portrayal of Moriarty (Sherlock). The character has a brilliance that must have been quite difficult to write, and it makes me believe that once the reader gets used to his environment, he will be unstoppable.
Saul is a little bit fantastic, like other characters in his genre, but there are hints at things the reader is curious to learn more about. You know that the numerous things he has suggested that he has done were accomplished with a panache that would be entertaining to read for all of his observation and explanation. I would have objected if the author had included those stories in this first volume, but it doesn’t mean the desire wasn’t aroused. The author will eventually have to examine the beginning of his primary character in this series. Similar to the Jack Reacher series, there were a lot of hints and very few actual words. Given the abundance of material, Davis must have had an extremely competent editor because I found no technical problems at all.
You would be correct if you assumed that I enjoyed False Prophet. Although I wouldn’t rate it as a five-star novel, I have no doubt that later books will. The first narrative is personal, as befits the genre, but Saul gives off the impression that it will always be personal. Saul fits the bill. He is that rambunctious character, and that is exactly why I want to read him again. Pick up False Prophet right now if you want a fantastic thriller read that is superbly written and moves rapidly.
About The Book
America’s East Coast has been set alight by three of the most bizarre murders in law enforcement history: in each instance, the victims have been forced to kill themselves. For ex-con-artist turned FBI agent, Saul Marshall, it seems like just another day in the office.
But when Saul discovers that the victims all have something in common – a close relative who’s been missing for many years – he immediately feels a personal connection: his own son is missing, presumed dead. And when out the blue he receives a note from his son, communicating he’s been kidnapped, Saul realizes this couldn’t be more personal.
As Saul learns more about his son’s captors – a serial killing cult, run by the psychopathic Ivan Drexler – he is forced off grid to fight back. But not only is Drexler giving his son just a week to live, he’s also got even more shocking attacks in the pipeline…
Although first released on Amazon.co.uk in England, I bought this book on Amazon.com in the USA and have enjoyed it immensely! The depths of psychopathic sadism dreamed up by the "bad guy" are truly disturbing but they propel the story forward as the protagonist tries to find a way to stop the insanity of "self-inflicted" murders. The book is hard to put down, and is an enjoyable introduction to the behind-the-scenes FBI operations in the field of terrorism and cults. Richard Davis has clearly done his research, and I hope he's already busy writing a sequel because I can't wait to find out what happens next!
- Fast-Paced & Intelligently Written.
- Excellent Premise.
- Frighteningly Plausible.
- A Razor-Edged Thriller.
- Slow Paced.
- Very Disappointed.
- Poor Plot.
- Flat And Boring.
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- STORY 0
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