Review and giveaway: The Cypress House
Arlen Wagner has a gift (or is it a curse?) that allows him to see when someone is about to die. When he is on a train, headed to the Florida Keys to help build a bridge, he realizes that everyone on the train is in danger. He tries to warn everyone that the train is in danger, but only one other passenger, Paul Brickhill, will listen to him.
Arlen and Paul disembark at the next stop and head to a boardinghouse for the night. They’re picked up by a stranger, Walt Sorenson, and end up at The Cypress House, an inn on the desolate Gulf Coast. When Walt turns up dead, Arlen and Paul are questioned and they quickly realize something’s not right in this little corner of the world. Their money is taken, so they find themselves stranded and right in the middle of a dangerous game that the corrupt politicians running the county intend to win at any cost.
Last year, I read and loved So Cold the River, by Michael Koryta, so I was excited and just a little nervous to read his latest book, The Cypress House. I was worried that it wouldn’t be able to match the intensity of his last book, but boy, was I worried for nothing. The Cypress House is just as good, if not better, than So Cold the River. Koryta is just a master at building suspense and making the setting such an integral part of the story.
The suspense builds up slowly at first, but at about halfway through the book, things exploded and I didn’t want to do anything but read it. I would have blocked out the rest of the world, if I could have, just to finish the book. I just couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.
The setting in The Cypress House is wonderful. I’ve spent time on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and believe me when I say, Koryta got it just right. The rural county with the corrupt government is something that’s been all too true as well. I think (and hope) it would be a little harder to get away with some of things these officials did, but this book is set in the 1930′s, so it was all believable to me.
I normally don’t enjoy supernatural elements in my books, but for some reason, Arlen’s gift seemed natural to me. The elements were so seamlessly woven in the story, I was certain there are people with gifts like that as I read it. Now that I’m done, I’m not so sure. If you enjoy page turning, heart pumping suspense, The Cypress House is the book for you!
Thanks to Hachette Books, I’m thrilled to be able to offer three of my readers copies of The Cypress House and So Cold the River, both by Michael Koryta. To enter to win one of three sets of Michael Koryta books (THE CYPRESS HOUSE and SO COLD THE RIVER), simply fill out this entry form. Contest is open for those with a US or Canadian mailing address only (no PO boxes please). I will use random.org to determine the winner. Contest ends at midnight EST Tuesday, February 1, 2011. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, February 2, 2011. Comments are welcome (and appreciated) but will not get you an entry in the contest.