Pittsburgh multi-millionaire Jonathon Payne is a man of many talents. He is CEO of Payne Industries, a generous benefactor to deserving charities and a highly decorated former Special Forces officer. One snowy night, while Payne addresses a wealthy black-tie-and-formal-dress crowd at a charity event on the University of Pittsburgh campus, he catches the eye of a woman standing in the shadows near the back of the room. She is noticeably underdressed and seemingly out of place. Payne’s instincts and years of military training warn him something is not quite right. At the conclusion of his speech, he seeks out the woman, who wanders off before he can talk to her.
Also attending the charity event is David Jones, Payne’s best friend who grudgingly dresses up for the occasion. Jones is a scholar and an avid reader with a life-long thirst for history and knowledge. He is also a former Special Forces officer who served with Payne in an elite military group known as the MANIACs (Marines, Army, Navy, Intelligence, Air Force, and Coast Guard).
After Payne tells Jones about the mysterious woman, the men team up to find her and ask why she is at the event. Their hunt leads them outside the University’s Cathedral of Learning into a blizzard. They track her across the snow-packed campus streets and then lead her to shelter in a campus chapel. She tells them an unlikely tale about why she has traveled from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh during a snowstorm and shows them a copy of a letter written in an ancient language. However, she is gunned down on a snowy sidewalk before they can verify her story.
With the woman’s murder, Payne and Jones are drawn into a mysterious adventure that connects centuries-old predictions of Michel de Nostredame, the world-renowned prophet widely known as Nostradamus, with modern-day murder, suspense and deception.
THE PROPHECY is a creative thriller about an ancient coded message supposedly written by Nostradamus. Chris Kuzneski’s latest novel includes murder, mystery and intrigue, along with a touch of romance. The suspense builds as the mystery unfolds, racing from Pennsylvania to Switzerland and Belgium, although the quick pace and reading enjoyment are slowed down by the overuse of “simply” and “simply put.” The banter between Payne and Jones, while at times seeming to be forced, adds humor to the drama. THE PROPHECY is sure to keep fans of Kuzneski speed reading until the final page, and the cliffhanger ending promises more adventure, mystery and suspense to come.
Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt (firstname.lastname@example.org) on July 7, 2011