Michael Koryta wastes not a second in getting the reader fully invested in An Honest Man. In the first pages Israel Pike, a former convict, finds seven people dead on a yacht off his hometown of Salvation Point, Maine. He is thus suspected of the crime by his uncle, the local sheriff. Meanwhile, young Lyman Ranking hides from his belligerent father by finding shelter in an abandoned house and meets a strange, bloodied young woman. You can’t keep but turning the pages.

Koryta runs his parallel stories very well. Both Pike and Lyman are connected to what happened on the yacht and have to find a way to disentangle themselves from that

It is clear from the start An Honest Man is a complex mystery. So you get the odd scene that seems out place. One is that of the PI working for one of the victims warns Israel Pike not to become the next Lee Harvey Oswald. Is this just a metaphor for a patsy or is this a hint at there being political malfeasance here?

The second third of Koryta’s An Honest Man focuses on Israel Pike`s work as an informant for a local state policewoman. She says she is running a task force about Israel’s uncle (and has a major personal bone to pick with him).

There are a lot of untruths in Michael Koryta`s An Honest Man. This makes is somewhat hard to follow all plates the author has spinning at the same time. It is not enough to discourage the reader.

The climax to this thriller is as complex as the book itself. It is good but I found it somewhat unsatisfactory. This is perhaps because we can only guess at what is next for the two main characters without knowing for certain of their fate.

An Honest Man
Michael Koryta
Mulholland Books 2023
373 pages

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