Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Prophet by Ethan Cross (Author Interview / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Ethan Cross, author of The Prophet!

Author Interview

Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Ethan!

Before we get to the interview, can you please tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

I am the the International Bestselling Author of The Shepherd, The Cage, Callsign:Knight, and my latest, The Prophet -a novel described by bestselling author Jon Land as "The best book of its kind since Thomas Harris retired Hannibal Lecter." I live and write in a small town in rural Illinois with my wife, two daughters, and two Shih Tzus.

How long have you been a writer?

It started as early as I can remember. I wasn’t an only child, but since my three sisters are so much older than I am, it felt that way growing up. I’ve always been an introvert and my favorite pastime as a young boy was playing pretend with my action figures and my imaginary friends (as my parents called them). But I’m not sure if they were truly the imaginary friends that we traditionally think of. I say this because they were more like characters in my own little movies. At the time, it was a boy playing with his imaginary friends, but I still do basically the same thing as an adult, only my imaginary friends find life on the pages of my books.

Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career? When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes? 

Writing is my “day job”, and so I treat it as such. Since I’m not much of a morning person, I start out with answering e-mails, conducting promotional activities, research, learning, etc…essentially the business side of things. Then, once I’ve got some caffeine in my system, I start to write/outline. I usually quit around 6:00, depending on when the kids have activities or we have plans for the evening. Then I usually have a little time to work some more once the kids and my wife have gone to bed.

During the outlining and development stage, I try not to force things too much and let the ideas come naturally. But once those ideas are down on paper in the outline, I work off of a daily word count that’s based upon approximately how long I expect the book to be and when the deadline is. I try to stick to that number, but I also try not to limit myself if I’m on a roll or chastise myself too harshly if a certain section needs extra attention.

What inspired you to become a writer? Describer your journey as a writer.

Telling stories on a grand scale has been my dream for as long as I can remember. When a fireman or a policeman would come visit my school, most of my classmates’ heads would swim with aspirations of growing up and catching bad guys or saving someone from a blazing inferno. When these moments came for me, however, my dreams weren’t to someday be a cop or put out fires; I just wanted to make a movie or write a book about it. And my dream came to fruition with the release of my first book, The Shepherd.

I had written a partially-finished screenplay in High School, and at one time in my life, I had considered moving to California and attempting to break into the film industry. But I knew that was an uphill battle, and much of my time was being consumed by another dream: music. While reaching for that dream, I was able to play all over the Midwest, record a few CDs, and open for national recording artists as a lead singer and guitar player. But I never gave up on my dream of telling stories, and I continued to develop the ideas in my head.

Up to this point, I had never been a big book reader, but then a friend introduced me to a series of Star Wars books that picks up where the original movies left off. I had always been a Star Wars fan, so I decided to give the books a shot. I loved them, but I also discovered a love for books. It wasn’t long before I was reading three to four books a week, everything from suspense thrillers to action and adventure. I had always considered writing a novel, but it was at this point that I knew that was what I wanted to do. So I began writing The Shepherd, which was based upon a short story that I had written for an English class during my senior year of college. My main goal with The Shepherd was to write a book that I would want to read, and the books that I loved were fast-paced with a lot of action. After more work than I could’ve possibly imagined, I finished a first draft. But the book was far from finished.

After doing a lot of research and knowing that I couldn’t get my book published without an agent, I decided to attend a writer’s conference in New York City called Thrillerfest. It included a period of time where you were able to pitch your novel to a group of agents, but you only had three minutes with each. I did well during my pitches and generated interest from all but a couple of the agents with whom I spoke. However, during Thrillerfest, I also attended three days of classes taught by some of biggest authors in the world. It was at this point that I realized my book wasn’t ready for primetime, and I still had a lot of work ahead of me. I also made a lot of new friends and contacts within the publishing industry, and one of them referred me onto a man named Lou Aronica.

The funny thing is that Lou had been the head of several of the big publishing houses, and while heading Bantam Spectra, he was the guy that came up with the idea of having Star Wars books (the same books that got me into reading). It all felt very serendipitous, so I began working with Lou to take my work to the next level. But Lou wasn’t finished with me yet. He also loved my book so much that he referred me onto my agent, Danny Baror—a man who represents some of the biggest authors in the world. Then, a few months later, Lou contacted me about a new undertaking. He had decided to start a new publishing imprint that was going to be invitation only. He asked if I would want to be one of the first authors to be published under this new imprint. I was, of course, excited to continue working with Lou and accepted. Since then, I’ve signed on with Random House in the UK and have deals in several other countries as well including Germany, Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, the Czech Republic, etc.

Please give a brief description/storyline about The Prophet.


Francis Ackerman Jr. is one of America’s most prolific serial killers. Having kept a low profile for the past year, he is ready to return to work – and he’s more brutal, cunning, and dangerous than ever.


Scarred from their past battles, Special Agent Marcus Williams cannot shake Ackerman from his mind. But now fully integrated into The Shepherd Organization, an underground law enforcement agency, Marcus has to focus on catching the Anarchist, a new killer who drugs and kidnaps women before burning them alive. 


Marcus knows the Anarchist will strike again soon. And Ackerman is still free. But worse than this is a mysterious figure, unknown to the authorities, who controls the actions of the Anarchist and many like him. He is the Prophet – and his plans are more terrible than even his own disciples can imagine.

With attacks coming from every side, Marcus faces a race against time to save the lives of a group of innocent people chosen as sacrifices in the Prophet’s final dark ritual.

What was the inspiration for this story?

With The Prophet, I wanted to touch on the world of doomsday cults and the abuse of power wielded by the charismatic leaders of such groups but also on the impact of abuse and how the sins of the parents affect their children. Throw in some gun fights and explosions, and you’ve got yourself a story!

How did it feel to have your first book published?

It was an incredibly satisfying experience, and everyone has been very supportive as I’ve followed this once crazy dream. But I often feel that I still haven’t “made it”, that I’m still not a real writer—even though I write full-time, have been published in several languages, and hit several bestseller lists. The writer’s life is truly a roller coaster ride, but for me, it’s also a dream come true.

Do you write books for a specific genre?

I write crime thrillers. I’m not sure where my fascination first stemmed, but I can say with almost one hundred percent certainty that I’ve never read a fictional book where no one was killed or no crime was committed. It sounds pretty morbid when I read those words, but honestly, I think it all comes back to what’s at stake. The more that’s at stake, the higher the level of excitement and tension. My goal with writing is to create a book that I would want to read, and crime/action thrillers are the type of books that excite me because they have the highest stakes.

What genres are your favorites/ What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?

I enjoy any book that’s action-packed, regardless of genre, and I've been known to read three or four books in a week. I love David Morrell, James Rollins, Lee Child, F. Paul Wilson, Dean Koontz, Jeffery Deaver, James Patterson, Douglas Preston, Clive Cussler, and many, many more.

Do you have a special spot/area where you like to do your writing?

I mainly write on a laptop while sitting in a brown reclining chair in my office.

How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?

I typically start by just thinking of everything I want to happen in the book (character moments, action sequences, etc). Then I begin to fit those pieces together. I have a dry-erase board and a cork board in my office as well. I brainstorm on the dry-erase and then begin lining up notecards on the cork board. These cards contain just enough info to let me know the linear progression of the book and how the pieces fit together. Then I craft an outline.

I’m an obsessive outliner. For The Prophet, I wrote a 170 page outline that went through two major drafts with feedback from my editors. This outline contains pretty much everything that’s going to happen in the book, even thoughts, research, and snippets of dialogue.

But for me, that’s the hard part. Once that’s done and the “writing” begins, things flow, and I’m able to focus on the intricacies. After the outline was done, I wrote the 125,000 words of the book in about a month and a half.

What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most?

One of the most exciting parts of being a writer is having the opportunity to experience new things, meet interesting people, and travel to fascinating new places. This is, of course, done in the name of research. We’ve all heard the expression “write what you know,” but I believe that it’s actually closer to “write what you want to know.” Through that kind of thinking, a writer can enrich their life and broaden their horizons while also taking their readers to places that they never knew they wanted to go.

Writing novels has been one of the most rewarding adventures of my life, but it’s also the hardest job that I’ve ever undertaken. Creating a book is a labor of love. I’ve worked in several different places and companies doing work ranging from computer programming to roofing and construction work. The job of “author” is the most challenging position that I’ve ever held.

Don’t misunderstand me, I love telling stories, and it’s a dream come true to be able to do so on a full-time basis. However, there’s a lot more that goes into writing than having a good idea and sitting down at a computer. There are countless levels of revision and editing that need to take place. There are marketing issues that must be addressed. There are endless anxieties over everything from sales to word usage to grammar mistakes.

And then comes the worst part…you have to contend with online reviews coming from sites like Amazon. For the most part, I’ve been blessed to have great reviews, but I’m also cursed by an obsessive personality and a true drive to create something that my readers will enjoy and love. This means that positive reviews make me smile and breathe a sigh of relief, but negative reviews truly haunt me. I’ve literally lost sleep over those reviews. The authors of these character executions seem to not realize that the book they read in a few hours took thousands of hours of hard work to create.

And even after all of the work, there are no guarantees. No one can predict what books will sell and which ones won’t, and all that a writer can really do is to produce the best book they can and hope that it is well-received. So far in my career, I’ve had a few stumbles but have also enjoyed great success. My goal is to make every book that I write the best book I’ve ever written and continue to grow as an author and storyteller. Hopefully, this will show through in my work, and I’ll have the opportunity to live my dream for many years to come.

What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing? 

I’m a huge movie buff. My wife and I religiously have date night every week and take in a movie. And if I’m not writing or watching a cool story, I’m probably reading one.

What is/was the the best piece of writing advice that you have received?

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” - Stephen King. I think this sums it up. You can learn more on the craft of writing by reading great writers than by sitting in any classroom or attending any conference.

What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?

I think the best thing about being a writer is the act of creation. I’m happiest when I’m enjoying someone else’s creation or bringing one of my own into existence. Forging something new from nothing using only your imagination is a very therapeutic and fulfilling experience.

How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?

I’m available through my website, Facebook, and Twitter. I try very hard to personally respond to every question and comment from my readers and love hearing from them.

Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?

Many of the places/details are based upon real locations/events/technology (and I do a ton of research), but for the most part, the stories told in my books come purely from my imagination.

What is your definition of success as a writer?

I’m an ambitious dreamer, and so I probably won’t feel like I’ve “made it” until I hit number one on the NYT list, have a hit movie based on my work, and have won every award out there. And I probably still won’t feel like my work is done if I reach that point. But if I’m honest with myself, being able to support my family by telling stories that people enjoy means that I’ve achieved great success.

Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?

I’m currently working on a new series that will feature a special investigator for the Defense Criminal Investigative Service…who’s also blind. It kicks off with the murder of the Commandant of the Marine Corps under very strange circumstances. I’m very excited about this new series, and I think (hope) that readers will be as well.

Thank you Ethan for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews, and sharing a bit about yourself and your writing career with us! 

About The Author

When a fireman or a policeman would visit his school, most of his classmates’ heads would swim with aspirations of growing up and catching bad guys or saving someone from a blazing inferno. When these moments came for Ethan Cross, however, his dreams weren’t to someday be a cop or put out fires; he just wanted to write about it. His dream of telling stories on a grand scale came to fruition with the release of his first novel, the international bestseller, The Shepherd.

Ethan Cross is the pen name of a thriller author living and writing in Illinois with his wife, two daughters, and two Shih Tzus. In addition to The Shepherd and The Prophet, he has published two novellas––The Cage and Callsign:Knight (with Jeremy Robinson).

Ethan Cross - The Prophet - Virtual Book Tour Page - Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A Copy of The Prophet

Contest Dates: Nov 16 - 23

To Enter: Use the Rafflecopter Entry Form Below. Also please leave a comment below with your name and email address so the winner can be notified via email by a representative of Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Contest Open U.S. Residents Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Prophet Book Trailer

Book Review

The Prophet by Ethan Cross
Publisher: The Story Plant
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Format: Paperback - 400 pages / Kindle - 821 KB / Nook - 3 MB
ISBN: 1611880459
Genre: Crime / Mystery / Suspense / Thriller

BUY THE BOOK: The Prophet 

BUY THE SERIES: The Shepherd Thrillers

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:


Francis Ackerman Jr. is one of America's most prolific serial killers. Having kept a low profile for the past year, he is ready to return to work – and he's more brutal, cunning, and dangerous than ever.


Scarred from their past battles, Special Agent Marcus Williams cannot shake Ackerman from his mind. But now Marcus must focus on catching the Anarchist, a new killer who drugs and kidnaps women before burning them alive.


Marcus knows the Anarchist will strike again soon. And Ackerman is still free. But worse than this is a mysterious figure, unknown to the authorities, who controls the actions of the Anarchist and many like him. He is the Prophet – and his plans are more terrible than even his own disciples can imagine.

With attacks coming from every side, Marcus faces a race against time to save the lives of a group of innocent people chosen as sacrifices in the Prophet's final dark ritual.

Book Excerpt:

                                              CHAPTER ONE

Francis Ackerman Jr. stared out the window of the dark copper and white bungalow on Macarthur Boulevard. Across the street, a green sign with yellow letters read Mosswood Playground - Oakland Recreation Department. Children laughed and played while mothers and fathers pushed swings and sat on benches reading paperback novels or fiddling with cell phones. He had never experienced such things as a child. The only games his father ever played were the kind that scarred the body and soul. He had never been nurtured; he had never been loved. But he had come to accept that. He had found purpose and meaning born from the pain and chaos that had consumed his life.

He watched the sun reflect off all the smiling faces and imagined how different the scene would be if the sun suddenly burned out and fell from the heavens. The cleansing cold of an everlasting winter would sweep across the land, cleansing it, purifying it. He pictured the faces forever etched in torment, their screams silent, and their eyes like two crystal balls reflecting what lay beyond death.

He let out a long sigh. It would be beautiful. He wondered if normal people ever thought of such things. He wondered if they ever found beauty in death. 

Ackerman turned back to the three people bound to chairs in the room behind him. The first two were men—plain-clothes cops that had been watching the house. The older officer had a pencil-thin mustache and thinning brown hair while his younger counterpart’s head was topped with a greasy mop of dark black. The younger man’s bushy eyebrows matched his hair, and a hooked nose sat above thin pink lips and a recessed chin. The first man struck Ackerman to be like any other cop he had met, honest and hard-working. But there was something about the younger man he didn’t like, something in his eyes. He suppressed the urge to smack the condescending little snarl from the younger cop’s ferret-like face.

But instead of hitting him, Ackerman just smiled at the cop. He needed a demonstration to get the information he needed, and the ferret would be perfect. His eyes held the ferret’s gaze a moment longer, and then he winked and turned to the last of his three captives.

Rosemary Phillips wore a faded Oakland Raiders sweatshirt. She had salt and pepper hair, and ancient pock marks marred her smooth dark chocolate complexion. Her eyes burned with a self-assurance and inner strength that Ackerman respected.

Unfortunately, he needed to find her grandson, and if necessary, he would kill all three of them to accomplish his goal.

He reached up to her mouth and pulled down the gag. She didn’t scream. “Hello, Rosemary. I apologize that I didn’t properly introduce myself earlier when I tied you up, but my name is Francis Ackerman Jr. Have you ever heard of me?”

Rosemary met his gaze. “I’ve seen you on television. You’re the serial killer whose father experimented on him as a child, trying to prove that he could create a monster. I guess he succeeded. But I’m not afraid of you.”

Ackerman smiled. “That’s wonderful. It means that I can skip the introductions and get straight to the point. Do you know why I asked these two gentleman to join us?”

Rosemary’s head swiveled toward the two officers. Her gaze lingered on the ferret. Ackerman saw disgust in her eyes. Apparently, she didn’t like him either. That would make things even more interesting once he started to torture the young cop.

“I’ve seen these two around,” she said. “I’ve already told the cops that my grandson ain’t no damn fool. He wouldn’t just show up here, and I haven’t heard from him since this mess started. But they wouldn’t listen. Apparently they think it’s a good idea to stake out an old lady’s house instead of being out there on the streets doing what the people of this city pay them to do. Typical government at work.”

Ackerman smiled. “I know exactly what you mean. I’ve never had much respect for authority. But you see, I’m looking for your grandson as well. I, however, don’t have the time or patience to sit around here on the off chance that he might show up. I prefer the direct approach, and so I’m going to ask you to level with me. Where can I find your grandson?”

“Like I told them, I have no idea.”

He walked over to a tall, mahogany hutch resting against the wall. It was old and well-built. Family pictures lined its surface and shelves. He picked up a picture of a smiling young black man with his arm around Rosemary. A blue and gold birthday cake sat in front of them. “Rosemary, I’ve done my homework, and I’ve learned that your grandson thinks the world of you. You were his anchor in the storm. Maybe the one good thing in his life. The one person who loved him. You know where he’s hiding, and you are going to share that information with me. One way or another.”

“Why do you even care? What’s he to you?”

“He’s nothing to me. I could care less about your grandson. But someone that I do care about is looking for him, and I try to be useful where I can. And like you said, sometimes bureaucracy and red tape are just too damn slow. We’re going to speed along the process.”

Rosemary shook her head and tugged on the ropes. “I don’t know where he is, and if I did, I’d never tell a monster like you.”

His father’s words tumbled through his mind.

You’re a monster…Kill her and the pain will stop…No one will ever love you… 

“Oh, my dear, words hurt. But you’re right. I am a monster.”

Ackerman grabbed a duffle bag from the floor and tossed it onto a small end table. As he unzipped the bag and rifled through the contents, he said, “Are you familiar with the Spanish Inquisition? I’ve been reading a lot about it lately. It’s a fascinating period of history. The Inquisition was basically a tribunal established by Catholic monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile in order to maintain Catholic orthodoxy within their kingdoms, especially among the new converts from Judaism and Islam. But that’s not what fascinates me. What fascinates me are the unspeakable acts of barbarism and torture that were carried out in the name of God upon those deemed to be heretics. We think that we live in a brutal age, but our memories are very short-sighted. Any true student of history can tell you that this is the age of enlightenment compared to other periods throughout time. The things the inquisitors did to wrench confessions from their victims was nothing less than extraordinary. Those inquisitors displayed fabulous imagination.”

Ackerman brought a strange device up out of the duffle bag. “This is an antique. It’s previous owner claimed that it’s an exact replica of one used during the Inquisition. You’ve got to love Ebay.”

He held up the device—built from two large, spiked blocks of wood connected by two threaded metal rods an inch in diameter each—for their inspection. “This was referred to as the Knee Splitter. Although it was used on more than just knees. When the inquisitor would turn these screws, the two blocks would push closer together and the spikes would first pierce the flesh of the victim. Then the inquisitor would continue to twist the screws tighter and tighter until they received the answers they wanted or until the affected appendage was rendered useless.”

Rosemary spit at him. As she spoke, her words were strong and confident. He detected a slight hint of a Georgian accent and suspected that it was from her youth and only presented itself when she was especially flustered. “You’re going to kill us anyway. No matter what I do. I can’t save these men anymore than I can save myself. The only thing that I can control is the way that I go out. And I won’t grovel and beg to the likes of you. I won’t give you the satisfaction.”

He nodded. “I respect that. So many people blame the world or society or others for the way that they are. But we’re all victims of circumstance to a certain extent. We like to think that we’re in control of our own destinies, but the truth is that much of our lives are dictated by forces far beyond our control and comprehension. We all have our strings pulled by someone or something. It’s unavoidable. The only place that we have any real control is right here.” He tapped the tip of his fifteen-inch survival knife against his right temple. “Within our minds. Most people don’t understand that, but you do. I didn’t come here to kill you, Rosemary. It will give me no pleasure to remove you from the world. But my strings get pulled just like everyone else’s. In this case, circumstances dictate that I hurt you and these men in order to achieve my goal. I’m good at what I do, my dear. I’ve been schooled in pain and suffering my entire life. Time will only allow me to share a small portion of my expertise with you, but I can tell you that it will be enough. You will tell me. That’s beyond your control. The only aspect of this situation that you can influence is the duration of the suffering you must endure. So I’ll ask again, where is your grandson?”

Her lips trembled, but she didn’t speak.

The smell of cinnamon permeated the air but was unable to mask a feral aroma of sweat and fear. Ackerman had missed that smell. He had missed the fear, the power. But he needed to keep himself contained. He couldn’t lose control. This was about information, not about satisfying his own hunger.

“Time to begin. As they say, I’m going to put the screws to this officer. Makes you wonder if this device is responsible for such a saying, doesn’t it?” 


After several moments of enjoyment with his new toy, Ackerman looked at Rosemary, but she had diverted her gaze. He twisted the handles again, and the officer’s thrashing increased.

“Okay, I’ll tell you!” she said. “He’s in Spokane, Washington. They’re set up in an abandoned metal working shop of some kind. Some crooked realtor set it up for them. I’ve tried to get him to turn himself in. I even consider calling the police myself, but I know that he and his friends won’t allow themselves to be captured alive. He’s the only family I have left.” Tears ran down her cheeks. 

Ackerman reached down and twisted the pressure from the officer’s legs. The man’s head fell back against the chair. “Thank you. I believe you, and I appreciate your situation. Your grandson has been a bad boy. But he’s your flesh and blood, and you still love him.”

He walked over to the table and pulled up another chair in front of Rosemary. As he sat, he pulled out a small notepad. It was spiral-bound from the top with a blood red cover. “Since you’ve been so forthcoming with me and out of respect, I’ll give you a genuine chance to save your lives.” He flipped up the notepad’s cover, retrieved a small pen from within the spiral, and started to write. As the pen traveled over the page, he said, “I’m going to let you pick the outcome of our little game. On this first sheet, I’ve written ‘ferret’ to represent our first officer.” He tore off the page, wadded it up, and placed it between his legs. “On the second, we’ll write ‘Jackie Gleason’ to represent the next officer. Then Rosemary. Then all live. And all die.”

He stirred up the wadded pieces of paper and placed them on the floor in front of her. “I think the game is self-explanatory, but to make sure that there’s no confusion, you pick the piece of paper, and I kill whoever’s name is on it. But you do have a twenty percent chance that you all live. And just to be clear, if you refuse to pick or take too long, I’ll be happy to kill all three of you. So please don’t try to fight fate. The only thing you have control over here is which piece of paper you choose. Have no illusions that you have other options. It will only serve in making the situation even less manageable for you. Pick one.”

Rosemary’s eyes were full of hate. They burrowed into him. Her gaze didn’t waver. A doctor named Kendrick from the Cedar Mill Psychiatric Hospital had once told Ackerman that he had damage to a group of interconnected brain structures, known as the paralimbic system, that were involved in processing emotion, goal seeking, motivation, and self-control. The doctor had studied his brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging technology and had also found damage to an area known as the amygdala that generated emotions such as fear. Monkeys in the wild with damage to the amygdala had been known to walk right up to people or even predators. The doctor had said this explained why Ackerman didn’t feel fear in the way that other people did. He wondered if Rosemary had a similar impairment or if her strength originated from somewhere else entirely.

She looked down at the sheets of paper then back into his eyes. “Third one. The one right in the center.”

He reached down and uncrumpled the small piece of paper. He smiled. “It’s your lucky day. You all get to live. I’m sorry that you had to endure this due to the actions of someone else. But as I said, we’re all victims of circumstance.” 

Then he stood, retrieved his things, and exited onto Macarthur Boulevard. 


Ackerman tossed his duffle bag into the trunk of a light-blue Ford Focus. He wished he could travel in more style, but the ability to blend outweighed his own sense of flare. He pulled open the driver’s door, slipped inside, and dropped some jewelry and the wallets and purse of his former captives on the seat next to him. He hated to lower himself to common thievery, but everything cost money. And his skill set didn’t exactly look good on a resume. Besides, he didn’t have time for such things.

He retrieved a disposable cell phone from the glove box and activated the device. As he dialed and pressed send, he looked down at the small slip of paper that Rosemary had chosen. The words All Die stared back at him.

After a few rings, the call connected, and the voice on the other end said, “What do you want?”

Ackerman smiled. “Hello, Marcus. Please forgive me, for I have sinned. But I do it all for you.”


"The best book of its kind since Thomas Harris retired Hannibal Lecter, a cat-mouse-game extraordinaire that will leave your knuckles white and your stomach churning." - Jon Land, Bestselling Author of Strong Vengeance

"Cross pushes the boundaries in this sinisterly clever showdown between one shadowy vigilante justice group and three twisted serial killers. The surprises are fast and furious and will leave you breathless to read more." - Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Catch Me and Love You More

"The Prophet confirms, confidently and vociferously, that Ethan Cross is one of the best damn writers in the genre." - Anthony J. Franze, Bestselling Author of The Last Justice

"Solid, memorable storytelling that moves rapid-fire through a complex and gripping plot." Ethan Cross is one of the sharpest emerging writers on the thriller fiction scene today." - Steven James, national bestselling author of Opening Moves and The Pawn

"The Prophet is a terrifying, twist-laden tempest of a thriller that builds to a climax even more ferocious and chilling than the blizzard in which it’s set. With a flawed-yet-likable cast of protagonists pitted against some of the most terrifying and believable villains in recent memory, Ethan Cross’s latest is a definite must-read." - Jeremy Burns, Author of The Deseret Blueprint and From The Ashes

My Book Review:

Two serial killers: Frances Ackerman and The Anarchist ... The Prophet who mentors and pulls the Anarchist's strings ... and three agents from the Shepherd Group who hunt down serial killers ...

The Prophet is a riveting crime suspense thriller that is so chilling, it makes the reader grip the arms of their chair, and raises the hair on the back of their neck with goose bumps of fear on their arms!

In the second book of The Shepherd series, author Ethan Cross once again raises the bar on chills and thrills with this gripping suspense thriller. Even though this is the second book in the series, it can be a stand alone read, as the author seamlessly brings the reader up-to-speed with the continuation of the storyline from The Shepherd. Told in the third person narrative, the author weaves a tale that immediately engages the reader in a captivating tale that is rich in detail and vivid descriptions, with its many twists and turns the reader is not left an option other than to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. I am a diehard fan of crime and suspense thrillers, and I must admit that this story exceeded my expectations. The intensity of the storyline and the tension between the serial killers and the agents of the Shepherd Group kept me thoroughly riveted and so engrossed, I literally had to finish the story in one sitting.

With a large cast of characters who are realistic and complex people, the author does a phenomenal job of delving into their mind and providing the reader with serial killers who are seriously demented, and special agents who are determined to bring them to justice. The author transports the reader into this fast paced white-knuckle storyline with his creative interweaving of a psychological cat-n-mouse game between the characters that leaves the reader's heart palpating while holding their breath. It just doesn't get any better than this ... oh wait ... maybe it will in the next book in the series, since the author leaves the reader hanging with a cliffhanger of an ending!

The Prophet is one heck of an adrenaline rush of a crime story that is a must read for the true diehard suspense thriller junkie!



  1. Phenomenal professional review, interview and post. Fantastic job. Thank you. I really enjoyed the interview...great questions!!

    1. Cheryl, you make me blush! Thank you for your kind comments, and for the opportunity to read, review and host the virtual book tour event. :)

  2. Hello Kathleen,

    Thanks so much for reading The Prophet, and I’m very excited to hear how much you enjoyed it. And thank you for crafting such a wonderful and informative post and review. Have a great weekend!

    Ethan Cross

    1. Hi Ethan! The Prophet was an awesome book, very chilling and it kept me riveted. Thank you for the kind comment, and the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. :)

  3. I liked this book :)