Review From User :
This was my 7th Michael Koryta novel, and while I have really liked them all, the ones that have a supernatural thread are my favorites. Along with The Ridge, and So Cold the River, THE CYPRESS HOUSE was his final "supernatural" thriller for me to read. And, what an incredible read it was. This will likely be one of my favorite books of the year.
The time period of the novel is 1935 and the location is Florida. WWI combat veteran Arlen Wagner, like many men, has found work with Roosevelt's newly formed CCC. He befriends a young man named Paul Brickhill and together they decide to take a train for a job in the Florida keys. Arlen is very smart and savvy, and he can also "see" when a person is about to face death. The two men disembark from the train before reaching their destination, and so begins their unexpected and twisted journey to a former fishing resort called The Cypress House. The lone proprietor of the place now is a beautiful woman named Rebecca Cady. Over time, Arlen, Paul, and Rebecca flirt with death and danger from the doings of a local black market kingpin, Solomon Wade. The conflict and interaction between these 3 characters and Wade and his cohorts is deftly handled by Koryta. His prose is haunting and beautiful and sometimes just gut-wrenching. I almost felt like I was reading a novel by a southern writer, like Tom Franklin, or perhaps even the superb historical fiction of James Carlos Blake. THE CYPRESS HOUSE has elements of them both, with just a tad bit of horror thrown in for flavor. It's just on helluva great book, period.
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).