Title: False Prophet
Author: Richard Davis
Publication Date: 25 January 2016
I received a review copy of this book from the author
A psychotic terrorist has his son. He will do anything to save him
When a rogue cult turns deadly, the FBI call on former conman Agent Saul Marshall. FALSE PROPHET introduces a gripping new series from thriller writer Richard Davis
Marshall is soon drawn into a cat and mouse chase with the leader of the cult, Ivan Drexler. As the scale of Drexler’s terrorist ambition becomes ever clearer, news arrives that he has taken Marshall’s son hostage. Removed from the line of duty, he must work alone, off-grid.
As the attacks intensify, Saul will stop at nothing to defeat Drexler.
But the FBI are questioning Saul’s own part in the carnage. He must work fast to save both his country and his life. Can Saul stop the carnage before it’s too late? And can he save his son?
As wave after wave of attacks break, the clock is ticking for Saul.
Fast-paced, relentless and brutally exciting, FALSE PROPHET marks the entrance of a major new thriller talent. For readers of Lee Child, David Baldacci and Michael Connolly, it will leave your heart pounding.
I was really excited to start this book because it has a lot of stuff that I find interesting in books. The idea of a serial-killing cult was especially fascinating to me and what made me really want to read the book. Having finished the book in only a handful of days, it lived up to my expectations and I really enjoyed it.
False Prophet is the debut thriller novel by Richard Davis following FBI agent and former con-man Saul Marshall. When a rogue cult commits three sets of murders shaped to look like suicides, the only connection between the victims is that they all have a teenage child on the missing persons list. FBI agent Saul Marshall is called in to investigate, only to find that the leader of the cult, Ivan Drexler, has Marshall’s own son hostage. Marshall is then pitted in a race against time to stop Drexler and the cult before they take his son’s life.
For me this is one of those books that takes a little while to get going but once it does, it is hard to put down. The first couple of chapters felt like a bit of an information dump as Davis set up the plot and character but once the actual story started to progress, it really starts to grip you hard. It is action-packed and has short chapters, so after the slow beginning I really burned through it pretty quickly.
The main character, Saul Marshall, really interested me. I found him to be quite easy to relate with because he felt a bit more natural than some other characters. What I mean by this is that a lot of authors in the genre are too protective of their character and therefore make them smarter, stronger and faster than everyone they come up against. I don’t feel that Davis did that as Marshall is outsmarted by the villain several times and I found that quite refreshing and enjoyable.
The only problem I had with Saul is that he has an interesting backstory that wasn’t really recognised in the story. It’s mentioned that he’s a former con-man at the start and it’s mentioned a couple of times throughout, but it was nowhere near as important to the story as I thought it was going to be. I thought the idea of a con-man-turned-FBI agent is pretty unique, so it would have been interesting to see that angle played up a bit more.
The plot of the book was interesting. For some reason, crazy killer cults have always fascinated me and that is what this book is all about. Drexler and his cult gave me a sort of Charles Manson vibe and the personal angle of Marshall racing against time to save his son from this cult made for a thrilling story. There’s quite a few big twists that I didn’t see coming and that mystery element is well done. My only real problem with the story was that the dialogue felt a little off. I found it hard to read because it didn’t feel conversational to me, but quite formal.
Overall, I think False Prophet is a pretty amazing debut novel and there is a lot of potential for an exciting series. I am really looking forward to what Davis does with Marshall next and if False Prophet is anything to go by, it should be good.
Worth a read? If you’re a fan of fast-paced, high-stakes, race against time action thrillers, then you’re probably going to enjoy False Prophet. Davis has the same simple style as most of the top authors in the thriller genre and the use of a serial-killing cult makes for a great action-packed story.