Thursday, February 17, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: The Cypress House

Title: The Cypress House

Author: Michael Koryta

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

RRP: $32.99

ISBN: 9781742375472

Release Date: February 2011

Pages: 432


With a hurricane bearing down, a journey to Florida becomes an inescapable nightmare. But the storm isn't the only danger. Three strangers stranded at the Cypress House - an isolated Gulf Coast boarding house - must also face an unseen and even deadlier force that means certain death for all of them...


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 are soon 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'.


Envy the Night was selected as a Reader's Digest condensed book in 2009 and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller. Koryta has also won the Great Lakes Book Award for Best Mystery and has received nominations for the Edgar, Shamus, and Quill Awards.

About Michael Koryta

Michael Koryta's first novel, the Edgar Award-nominated Tonight I Said Goodbye, was published when he was just twenty-one and was followed by Sorrow's Anthem, A Welcome Grave, Envy the Night, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and The Silent Hour and his most recent book, So Cold the River. His works have been translated into twenty languages. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where he has worked as a newspaper reporter and private investigator, and in St. Petersburg, Florida.


My first introduction into the literary world of Michael Koryta came last year with his brilliant novel, So Cold The River. The Cypress House is the second book by Koryta and just as well written as So Cold The River.

The Cypress House is set in the age of the Great Depression in Indiana and follows the story of Arlen Wagner, a man who can see when a person is going to die by a smoke rising out of them. Arlen was sceptical about his own ability, but after being a soldier in WWI and seeing the amount of death and those enemies who were not going to die anytime soon, he comes to accept his powers.

One more than one occassion Arlen escapes danger by seeing the signs of a tragedy before it occurs, such as when he begins to see smoke pouring out of everyone on a train he is on. He later discovers that the train heads straight into a hurricane.

This book was an enjoyable read with many pages of suspense and thrills.

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