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The Cypress House Mass Market Paperback – July 31, 2012
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After making his name with five strong crime novels, Koryta started adding chills to the thrills in the horror-tinged So Cold the River (2010). In this one, battle-hardened WWI veteran Arlen Wagner can foretell others’ deaths. With the Great Depression crippling the country, he works in the Civilian Conservation Corps and keeps his demons at bay with hard work and a flask full of whiskey. He and young friend Paul Brickhill are traveling by train to a new CCC camp in the Florida Keys when Arlen’s supernatural sense tells him they have to get off the train if they want to stay alive. They find themselves at Cypress House, a strangely empty fishing resort on the Gulf Coast run by beautiful but taciturn Rebecca Cady—and right in the middle of a vipers’ nest of small-town corruption and misery. Koryta is superb with mood and setting, and, if a bit too much of the plot is revealed in stories the characters tell to each other, the simmering tension erupts into a rolling boil by the bloody, spooky, and satisfying ending. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Koryta’s stock has only risen since his Edgar-nominated first novel. His first crossover supernatural thriller evoked comparisons to Stephen King and Peter Straub; a big promotional push this time will extend that momentum still further. --Keir Graff --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
"Gripping suspense. . . . In this taut and atmospheric story, Koryta keeps readers guessing right up to the end."―Mary Foster, Associated Press
"A deliciously dark tale. Koryta is a fantastic storyteller."―Scott Smith, author of A Simple Plan and The Ruins
"The Cypress House builds to a seriously tense and twisted final act."―Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly
"Michael Koryta is mining Stephen King territory and carving out a spot all his own."―Sarah Weinman, Women's World
"Powerful storytelling. . . . An enthralling novel."―Oline H. Cogdill, Kansas City Star
"Michael Koryta's command of story, character, and language put him in an elite group of writers at work today: Elmore Leonard, Michael Connelly, and Lee Child, to name a few. Koryta is one of the very best writers out there."―Ridley Pearson, author of In Harm's Way
"The Cypress House begins with pulse-racing promise [and] sprints to a filmic, white-knuckled finish."―Andrea Simakis, Cleveland Plain Dealer
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Top Customer Reviews
The problem with this power is that sometimes it works, sometimes not which tends to complicate things as the story continues of a small town ruled by a corrupt judge and sheriff. Well plotted and interesting story if a bit strong in places. I was surprised to discover how many books Koryta has published so may have to try a couple of more. Great book for spring break!
This book is exactly what it says it is, and does a very good job at it. The writing is tight, the plotting is excellent, and I cared enough about the characters to make the storyline gripping.
The supernatural elements are an integral part of this story but never overwhelm it. Imagine a Jack Reacher novel where Jack Reacher has that ability and you pretty much have this book. Well - without the overtones of indestructible superman that can creep into some of the Jack Reacher novels. (Don't get me wrong - love the Reacher books. But "so well muscled the bullet did not kill him" was a bit much to swallow. Yes, I get that it was also the calibre of the bullet, and the type of hand gun - but it was still a bit too "super hero".) Arlen Wagner is a very believable character - rather strange when you realise he can see who is going to die by looking in their eyes. It sounds peculiar, doesn't it? The man with the psychic power being a little more believable than a character like Jack Reacher, and yet that is the effect. Kudos to Koryta for managing this.
How does Koryta do it? Well - no amazing physical abilities. Wagner is a tough guy, but not physically indestructible. And then there is his personality - he makes the occasional mistake, both in his personal interactions with others and in his action role. Nothing that cannot be remedied or worked around, but he makes mistakes. And then there is his attitude towards his ability - he resists it and it causes him problems - very believable. Add to this that Arlen is very likeable, even admirable.
So the main character is a gem. What about the other main characters? There is the damsel in distress, Rebecca Cady. Is she completely innocent, is she complicit (even if only partially complicit), can she be trusted? Rebecca is tough without being over the top, vulnerable without being a weakling, alluring without being a caricature. In short - a great character. Then there is Paul, the young man that Arlen is with from the beginning. Another character that rings one hundred per cent true - he is young, with the virtues and faults that come with his youth and lack of experience. None of Koryta's characters are motivated by the plot - they are three dimensional people, each with their unique flaws, strengths and aims. Even the bad guys rise above cliche nasty to be actual people. And what these people do, try to do and avoid doing make the plot sizzle. It all just WORKS so well.
They situation itself is slowly revealed, and then we get into the fun part - what is Arlen going to do about it? This is another strong section of the book - Arlen makes good decisions, has the occasional falter, and manages a satisfying conclusion that is neither too pat nor too easy.
In short - Korytas can write, and he has a great handle on story. He is good with dialogue, good with characterisation, good at creating a gripping plot that builds naturally out of his initial scenes, and good at finishing it off with an ending that satisfies on every level. The man is just plain GOOD.
I, naturally, raced out and bought several Koryta novels, barely bothering to read the blurbs. Which I am working my way through reading, and thoroughly enjoying. Don't you just LOVE it when you find a writer who knows exactly what he/she is doing, and delivers?