False Prophet
PublisherZaffre Publishing
Date Published19 September 2019
Price£ 7.99

False Prophet

by James Hazel

An ex-detective-turned-lawyer and a cast of eccentric but charming characters work to prevent the end of the world and catch a serial killer.


Charlie Priest, an ex-detective-turned-lawyer, is engaged to force an eccentric collector to hand over a valuable lost scripture. He is convinced that the scripture should not be passed on and so becomes involved in a series of events that have serious ramifications.

The document, possibly part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, apparently contains details which, if acted upon, will bring about global catastrophe. Fortunately, it is safely enclosed in a sealed container and Charlie takes it into his care,

At the same time, a ritualistic murder is carried out in a smart block of flats. The MO for this murder is the use of a nail to the forehead and then the body is displayed with messages written in blood. When more similar murders occur, it is clear that there is a serial killer at work although there is nothing to connect the victims, only the repetition of the method of killing.

The police solicit the support of Charlie Priest in resolving this crime and so starts an exciting rollercoaster of a plot.

The characters are delightful, ranging from engaging and personable, to eccentric and endearing, cold and dangerous and just plain weird. Despite their oddities, they are all believable and have enough of their character explored to make each of them interesting. The progress of the plot is tackled intelligently and cinematically, although there is really nothing very surprising in this tale. Old manuscripts, mystical tales with eccentric intellectuals, wealthy collectors and manic zealots are common plot devices, but this book handles them all with panache, enthusiasm and believability.

I thoroughly enjoyed the pace, the dialogue, the characters and the concepts. False Prophet is an easy fast read which I found myself devouring with enthusiasm. If you like this genre, then you’ll like this book – it’s a good one.

Reviewed 31 October 2020 by John Barnbrook