Saturday, March 29, 2008

Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet-Joanne Proulx

Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet
Joanne Proulx
Soho, Apr 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9781569474877

In 2002 in Stokum, Michigan, teenager Luke Hunter smokes pot with his friends in the basement of the house of Todd “Fang” Delaney’s never home parents when he makes a dark prediction. Luke claims one of them will not make it to school tomorrow because he will be hit by an out of state red van license plate BLU 369; Stan will go heads to head at 8:37 and lose.

Word quickly gets around that Luke predicted to the nth degree of accuracy Stan’s death. The media being in its usual uncaring frenzy state assault Stokum for information on the “Prophet of Death”. They stalk Luke and his frightened bewildered parents as the town has become an asylum for the certifiable especially amoral reporters. Luke sees more "death flashes" that soon become real; seven months of death horrifyg him as he wants to go back to his formerly mellow but somewhat cynical life. A prescription helps abate the visions even as religious fanatics try to intervene while a mom begs him to find his daughter when all he wants is his dream girl at school to say yes.

This is a fast-paced young adult contemporary paranormal thriller that focuses deeply on a previously bored teen whose 99.99% of his brain consisted of one icon: girls; suddenly he has the curse of seeing in graphic detail the death of someone soon. Thus Luke must cope with his unwanted psychic skills while avoiding the media, the religious nuts, the needy beggars, and even his family and friends whom he frightens. On top of that he is attracted to a girl who seems to reject him making him wonder if she fears his “gift”. ANTHEM OF A RELUCTANT PROPHET is a well written teen angst thriller that leaves some threads unanswered, which implies sequel to me.

Harriet Klausner

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