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Review: 11. The Cypress House by Michael Koryta...

January 20, 2011
Michael Koryta is on my list of authors to pick up for that hook-you-in thriller (yes, I like 'em, and no, they don't have to be espionage-type thrillers). This one's set in the south during the Depression.

the cypress house
Title: The Cypress House
Author: Michael Koryta
ISBN-13: 9780316053723
ARC: 415 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 2011
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Hachette Book Group

drey's thoughts:
Michael Koryta's latest combines elements of desperation, need, and death, into a gripping tale of two men trying to find work who get cornered into a situation way beyond their control. And then he adds in a twist--Arlen can "see" when a person is going to die. Not how, or when, but he knows that when he sees that smoke in your eyes, you will die.

Not wanting to die along with all the other men he's with on the train heading to the Florida keys, Arlen hops off at a remote station with one of the younger men, Paul Brickhill. Which then poses a problem--where can they stay, and how will they get themselves to the Keys?

The answer shows up in the form of a traveling salesman, Walt Sorenson, who gets them to an inn for the night, then has the two traveling with him as he drives along the coast. His last stop bears the title of this book, The Cypress House, and it is there that Arlen and Paul find themselves stuck as events beyond their comprehension spiral out of control, and they have to figure out how to survive it.

Character: Arlen Wagner has seen a lot of things, most of them not-so-nice. And you can tell from his crusty character. He's not cranky or belligerent, mind you, just one of those guys who isn't tempted to say something just to hear his own voice or fill a silence. In fact, he usually doesn't say much at all. I like Arlen. Paul is young, only nineteen, and I was surprised that he listened to Arlen and got off the train--shows the boy has some sense in his noggin. But being only nineteen, Paul's pretty full of himself, and gets in over his head at the Cypress House, especially with his feelings (real or imagined) for Rebecca, the owner.

The bad guys are truly bad and irredeemable. And Rebecca is so entangled with them that Arlen and Paul don't really know what to think.

Pace & Plot: The Cypress House seems to take a while to start up and get going, but I think it's because the last bunch of books I've read all started with action right away, then provided the backstory whereas this one starts at point A and moves to point B. The plot does get slow in spots, and some things aren't clear until way later in the story, but it's still a very well-written thriller.

drey's rating: 4/5 Excellent: Check this out if you're a fan of Koryta's or if you like a good, well-told, gotta-get-to-the-end yarn.

Have you read The Cypress House? What did you think?

Other reviews of The Cypress House:
Bermudaonion's Weblog


bermudaonion said...

I really liked this book and will post my review tomorrow. I think one of the things I liked the most was the way the suspense built up slowly.

holdenj said...

I haven't read any Koryta, but I do like both kinds of suspense too! Will have to add it to my list this year and check out bermudaionion's review too!

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