Michael Koryta is one of those consistently excellent authors who seem virtually incapable of letting their readers down. This is most surprising because every Michael Koryta book is different than the previous. He has written series and standalones, thrillers, paranormal, and domestic suspense but there are common connections to be found within his novels—regardless of style—for those longing for patterns. Namely, each book has a propulsive plot that cumulatively builds on itself until reaching the ultimate boiling point; and there’s a decidedly Victorian view of the natural world as indifferent and often hostile towards humanity. That these two diametrically distinct statements can be true within the same work comes down to Michael Koryta’s talent. His latest novel, An Honest Man, is a prime example—easily one of the best in his long string of successful crime novels.
Israel Pike is a man with a past. Convicted of killing his own father, he sees his return to Salvation Point Island as a way to restart, but when he stumbles upon the bodies of seven men aboard a derelict yacht, there’s a huge wrench thrown into his plan. Needless to say, he’s about to become the prime suspect because of his past legal problems. His uncle Sterling, who most assuredly knows something about what happened here, has a vendetta against Israel setting into place a manhunt across the island.
Readers are led to believe that Israel is an honest man despite his flawed past, so rooting for him comes easy, but just in case readers need more incentive, Michael Koryta weaves in the story of Lyman Rankin. Lyman is a twelve-year-old boy with an abusive father. To escape, Lyman also uses the island and its abandoned buildings as refuge—until he stumbles upon a woman with secrets of her own. These three lives will converge in a race for survival—hampered by the island’s dense vegetation, unpredictable weather, and their own self-esteem.
Michael Koryta unspools this story in a methodical way—the plotting here is tighter than a taut fishing line reeling in the day’s big catch. Michael Koryta is a writer who never looks down on his reader, allowing them to put pieces of the puzzle into place without constant authorial handholding. This is most easily accomplished because he crafts his characters in authentic and complex ways, leading readers to identify with them such that it creates an unbreakable bond.
An Honest Man is a book that once begun will undoubtedly be consumed in short order. Perfect for summer vacations where readers need a true escape and want to find themselves furiously turning pages to see who makes it out alive. This is almost a guarantee with a Koryta novel. This is just one of many reasons that Michael Koryta is beloved by his colleagues, critics, and fans. Join the cult of quality and pick up An Honest Man today.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.