This was a really well-written, cleverly done piece of fiction. The book is narrated in the first person by James, a ne'er-do-well from a wealthy family, and we feel sympathy from him right from the beginning as we learn that a simple change in government regulations put him out of a career as an online poker player overnight.
Purposeless, he drifts down to Florida on an errand for his important, wealthy father and winds up in the orbit of a ex-televangelist preacher named John Wainwright.
Every decision James makes seems like a perfectly logical one at the time as he is spun deeper into Wainwright's web. James believes, because he isn't being 'suckered in' by Wainwright's religious patter, that he's quite safe, and he doesn't have anything to scam him for anyway. Falling for Wainwright's estranged daughter, Jill, who has an axe to grind with her father, James is in over his head before he realizes it's too late.
Perhaps the only issue I have with this book was that hints towards the final outcome were dropped too early; I was about 50% of the way in when I figured out that James himself was the 'mark' for Wainwright's scheme. James' musings of "perhaps I should have seen then" kind of gave it away that something was coming. Leaving all that out and having him look back after the fact would have kept the suspense at a higher level throughout the book and made the final realization that much more shocking.
Nevertheless, this was a really excellent read. I think it would make a superb movie, actually, with the suspense ratcheted up a notch or two. I have no hesitation in giving it 5 stars.
The Prophet Of Marathon is available on Amazon now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through ReadingAlley.