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The Cypress House by Michael Koryta

The Book:

Arlen Wagner has an awful gift, first discovered on the battlefields during his Army days: he sees death in the eyes of men before it strikes them. He is never wrong.

Fortunately, the haunting premonitions that plagued him in the war aren’t common back home. They aren’t, at least, until a hot Florida night in a train car bound for the Keys, when Arlen awakens to find the telltale smoke showing in every man’s eyes…

Accompanied by 19-year-old Paul Brickhill, the only person aboard who heeds his strange warnings, Arlen abandons the train. The two soon find themselves in a rural jail, then stranded at The Cypress House—a solitary tavern and boarding house located on the eerie marsh land of the Gulf Coast—right in the path of a hurricane.

The storm isn’t the only approaching danger. From the beautiful Rebecca Cady, who owns the roadhouse but seems to host no guests but those hand-picked by the local sheriff, the two men begin to suspect that a much deadlier threat may be hiding in the swamp’s shadows, circling, dead set on stopping them from ever escaping the county. From its chilling beginning to heart-pounding end, THE CYPRESS HOUSE is a story of relentless evil and unmatched suspense.

Source: Author’s website

The View:

I have been waiting on this book, so when it was released I had to read it. I am midway through a few other books and decided to put everything on hold to finish this one. Seriously my belief is that a book by Koryta should never be delayed….and after reading “The Cypress House” that belief only got stronger. Koryta is one of the best story tellers of our generation and he has proven it one more time.

The story is partly a historical fiction; not one of my favorite genres; but if written right why not? The paranormal suspense and romance is a great addition and helped maintain the excitement. With every page I thought I could predict what is going to happen next only to be disappointed by how naive I was. The backdrop, setting and the era in which the novel is based is spot on. The book left me with nightmares, I would doze off and have dreams about the Cypress house, opening a box to find a dead man’s hands or predicting an approaching death.

The characters were realistic, by being flawed and imperfect. Arlen’s reactions to his supernatural power is justifiable and though you may not always agree with him; you cannot help but acknowledge and appreciate it. The relation between Paul and Arlen is bitter-sweet – a friendship and a commitment that would almost make one of them risk their life for the other. Becky, sorry Rebecca is dull in the beginning but soon grows to be a character the story cannot do without. Her reasoning, passion, silence and ignorance make her just the right mystery woman to live in the Cypress House. Truly enthralling was the fact that the characters entered and left the story at the right time.. Small details like Owen being introduced much later or Paul leaving and coming back again are what makes Koryta the best in what he does.

Rated a 5 on 5 and falls in the category : “if-you-have-not-read-it-you-are-missing-out-on-something-brilliant.” Definitely one of 2011’s best books; just make sure you leave the lights on.

Here are the reviews for the other books by Michael Koryta. I still have not managed to read “So Cold the River” but I promise I will get to it soon.

  1. Tonight I Said Goodbye
  2. Sorrow’s Anthem
  3. A Welcome Grave
  4. Envy the Night
  5. The Silent Hour
  6. So Cold the River
  7. The Cypress House

One Response

  1. I haven’t got to reviewing this yet but I agree Michael Koryta is definitely ““if-you-have-not-read-it-you-are-missing-out-on-something-brilliant.” So Cold the River is the only other of his I’ve read and it’s equally as good.I’m looking forward to reading his earlier ones.

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