Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words
Kindle US: YES UK: YES Nook: NO Smashwords: NO Paper: NO
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Originally a California Boy, Eric Christopherson has lived throughout the US and, for a short time, in Asia. The former police officer now lives with his wife and son in Ohio. Christopherson has one other book, Crack Up, that was named the “Best Mystery Novel” in Red Adept Reviews Annual Indie Awards in 2010.
John Richetti spent part of his childhood inside the People’s Temple cult and lost both parents during their mass suicide. Now a San Francisco Homicide detective, John and police psychologist Marilyn Michaelsen have infiltrated another cult with members that have died; maybe it was suicide, but John suspects murder.
Previously I read Christopherson’s novel Crack Up, and loved it. The Prophet Motive is at least as good, if not better. Since the main character is a homicide detective, the book has many of the qualities of a police procedural in the beginning and of a murder mystery throughout. However, what elevates the book beyond just another okay murder mystery are the story threads that make the book as a whole more of a psychological thriller.
The People’s Temple is an infamous cult, best known for the “Jonestown Massacre” in Guyana and subsequent mass suicide by many of the members. Those who are too young to remember this (it happened in 1978) might have heard the expression, “don’t drink the Kool-Aid,” which is a pop-culture reference to that mass suicide.
John Richetti, the protagonist of The Prophet Motive, was a member of The People’s Temple as a child and his parents both died in Guyana. As he investigates Earthbound, the cult in this book, the similarities between the two cults provide additional motivation for John. At times, he seems to view uncovering the truth behind the suspected murders of Earthbound members as revenge for his parent’s deaths, possibly causing him to become too personally involved with the case. The memories of his time with The People’s Temple and the obvious parallels with Earthbound serve to ratchet up the tension. What could easily have been a predictable resolution takes a sinister twist when John uncovers something unexpected, The Prophet Motive.
No significant issues
Rating: ***** Five stars