Michael Koryta is a master of taking his readers along one pathway – or in this case, down one tunnel – then veering sharply left and right, so leaving them exhilarated, thrilled and satisfied in equal measure.
Never more is this the case than with the authoe's latest offering, Last Words, which sees grieving husband Markus Novak reluctantly embark on a cold case in small town America which turns out to be a lot hotter than he could ever imagine, and leads him deep into the land upon which he stands with devastating consequences.
This is thriller writing at its very best. Tight, descriptive prose make the scenario spring to life with all the vivid colour of a photograph taken in Hi-Def, whereas the characterisations – particularly those of Markus and Ridley Barnes – are so deftly hewn it is as though they are speaking directly at us with such filmic clarity it becomes impossible not to listen.
Above all though it is the tension with which Koryta injects into even the most mundane of passages which will have those who have read his previous work such as So Cold the River applauding out loud, and newcomers asking how they have missed him thus far.
A glorious read with a unique underbelly, Last Words might well be the last word in art of skilled, consummate story telling.