2011: #6 – The Cypress House (Michael Koryta)

cypresshouseBook #6 was The Cypress House by Michael Koryta.  The back of the book reads:

A journey to Florida’s coast becomes an inescapable nightmare in the newest supernatural thriller from international bestseller Michael Koryta.

Arlen Wagner has seen it in men before–a trace of smoke in their eyes that promises imminent death. He is never wrong.

When Arlen awakens on a train one hot Florida night and sees death’s telltale sign in the eyes of his fellow passengers, he tries to warn them. Only 19-year-old Paul Brickhill believes him, and the two abandon the train, hoping to escape certain death. They continue south, but soon are stranded at the Cypress House–an isolated Gulf Coast boarding house run by the beautiful Rebecca Cady–directly in the path of an approaching hurricane.

The storm isn’t the only approaching danger, though. A much deadlier force controls the county and everyone living in it, and Arlen wants out–fast. But Paul refuses to abandon Rebecca to face the threats alone, even though Arlen’s eerie gift warns that if they stay too long they may never leave. From its chilling beginning to terrifying end, The Cypress House is a story of relentless suspense from "one of the best of the best" (Michael Connelly).

This wasn’t at all what I expected. Despite the popularity of Koryta’s previous novel, So Cold the River, I haven’t read it yet, so this is my first experience with him. I was definitely not disappointed.  Koryta gives us an unusual guy in an unusual situation, yet manages to make it all seem perfectly normal.  Arlen’s "gift" — the ability to see that someone is "marked for death" — could have been the centerpiece of the story.  In fact, I expected it to be.  Instead, it’s just another thing about Arlen, and you even find yourself forgetting about it at times.  It remains important to the plot, and influences several of Arlen’s decisions, but it doesn’t overwhelm it.  I really liked the twists and turns and surprising places this story takes us, especially when Arlen shows his bad-ass side. Whether or not you’ve read Koryta before, this is a book I can heartily recommend. Don’t let the supernatural tag scare you.

This book was a review copy.

Other reviews:

Review and giveaway: The Cypress House | Bermudaonion’s Weblog
Booking Mama: Review: The Cypress House & Giveaway
drey’s library: Review: 11. The Cypress House by Michael Koryta

Page count: 432 (’11 total: 1,318) | Approximate word count: 129,600 (’11 total: 566,873)

2010: Little Children (Tom Perrotta)
2009: Summer (Edith Wharton)
2008: Dead Witch Walking (Kim Harrison)
2007: Between Friends (Debbie Macomber)
2006: The Rule of Four (Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason)
2005: D is for Deadbeat (Sue Grafton)

Used in these Challenges: Countdown Challenge 2011; 2011 E-book Reading Challenge; ARC Reading Challenge 2011; New Author Challenge 2011; Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2011;

2 thoughts on “2011: #6 – The Cypress House (Michael Koryta)

  • January 24, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    SO glad you enjoyed this one. I’m a huge fan of Mr. Koryta’s!

  • January 24, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Great review! I think Koryta’s incorporation of the supernatural works so well because because it isn’t the centerpiece of the story.


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