A journey to Florida's coast becomes an inescapable nightmare in this supernatural thriller from international bestselling author 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).
Set in Florida in 1935, Koryta's masterful follow-up to So Cold the River effectively combines supernatural terror with the suffocating fatalism of classic American noir. Since serving as a Marine in WWI, Arlen Wagner has been able to identify people marked for death by something only he can see smoke swirling in their eyes. While riding a train with 33 other Civilian Conservation Corps workers, Arlen spots smoke in the eyes of his fellow passengers. Certain the train is headed for disaster, he can persuade only one of them, 19-year-old Paul Brickhill, to get off at the next stop. Arlen and Paul wind up at a boarding house, where they become involved with its operator, the mysterious and beautiful Rebecca Cady, who's somehow beholden to some vicious and corrupt local law enforcement officials. Koryta excels at describing both scenery and his characters' inner landscapes. It's hard to think of another book with equal appeal to Stephen King and Cornell Woolrich fans.
Smart Well Written Book
This book was a surprise! I hadn't more than average expectations of it. A little Stephen King can be fun now and again but this writer really exceeds in this genre. Terrific beginning with historical basis begins the mood and setting perfectly. Deeply gothic, Southern/Florida swamp noir setting. Great characters and just the right touch of supernatural--no bogie men jumping out from behind doors, etc. Subtle. I thought about 3/4 of the way into it the story was sagging a little, but a fine recovery.
Loved this book
I am very picky about the books I read and I usually only read Stephen King but Michael Koryta is my new favorite. This book has a very subtle power and intrigue that builds stronger and stronger as the story unfolds. It was such a great book that I couldn't stop reading it and couldn't stop thinking about it even after I finished it.