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Guest Reviewer Ash on False Prophet by Richard Davis

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Format: Kindle Edition

File Size: 1071 KB

Print Length: 290 pages

Publisher: Canelo (25 Jan. 2016)

Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l. 

Language: English

ASIN: B019M18AG8

Synopsis: 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 mayhem. 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.

Ash Rating: 4/5

Ash Review: Any thriller that starts with someone reading their own obituary over breakfast is off to a good start and False Prophet does not fail to live up to this promising start.. 

False Prophet, Davies' debut novel, is the first in a series on Saul Marshall, an FBI agent with a murky past as a con-man with a missing son.  It centres on Marshall's investigation of a cult led by Ivan Drexler. Drexler's intent on the mass murder of innocent people for his own enjoyment is equalled only by his intent to destroy Marshall's life, using Marshall's son as his most powerful weapon. 

Marshall is a well written character who is likeable but not without faults and whose ethics and decisions I questioned throughout the novel. I think he will make for a great character on whom to base a series. At times however, I felt that in an effort to round out Marshall's character and explain his background and motive, the narrative suffered. The inclusion of backstories was at times clunky and interrupted the pace of the action for me. 

The action itself truly makes up for this though. Davies clearly researched the FBI and cults thoroughly before writing "False Prophets" and it shows. What made this novel so engrossing was that the manner in which Drexler creates a cult and uses his followers for his own ends is believable and horrific. Davies does not shy away from detailing the gruesome results of Drexler's campaign of murder however these details did not feel superfluous at any point. 

In an otherwise excellent narrative and brilliant character development, one aspect of "False Prophet" frustrated me; the inclusion of a romantic interest for Marshall felt unnecessary and, for me, took away from both characters who were otherwise really well written. 

For me the inclusion of the romantic interest and the efforts to add in Marshall's backstory to the detriment of the pacing of "False Prophet" were indicative of this being the first in a new series and the efforts of Davies to make it a page-turner and a series which the reader will return to. I think False Prophet stands out without these inclusions because it is such an interesting story and one which is clearly well loved and well researched by the author. I really enjoyed "False Prophet" and look forward to reading the next Saul Marshall book.  

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