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Review and giveaway: The Cypress House

January 21, 2011

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.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
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42 Comments leave one →
  1. January 21, 2011 5:06 am

    It’s so much fun to read one good book by an author. Then, to discover the next book he or she writes is just as wonderful as the first one. I’m glad you enjoyed Cypress House as much as or more than you loved So Cold a River. Cypress House really interests me. I really enjoyed the review. Thanks.

  2. January 21, 2011 5:09 am

    I MUST win so I know what happen to the people on the train! :-)

  3. January 21, 2011 5:55 am

    These sound like books my dad would absolutely love!

  4. January 21, 2011 6:36 am

    I’d love a chance to win these two books Kathy. This one sounds riveting and the other has been on my wishlist. Thanks

  5. January 21, 2011 7:05 am

    I’m a big fan of Koryta’s books, and I know I need to go back and read his first series. I love his writing and how he weaves the element of supernatural into his stories.

  6. January 21, 2011 7:16 am

    Thanks for offering a terrific giveaway.

  7. January 21, 2011 7:54 am

    I wouldn’t want his gift. Imagine being able to see when someone is going to die. Now wondering why he didn’t notice the man would turn up dead the following day. I love supernatural books like this. I haven’t heard of him before but will add to my list.

    • January 21, 2011 7:58 am

      I wondered about that when it happened, but there’s no need to worry – it’s explained in the book.

  8. Carol M permalink
    January 21, 2011 9:47 am

    I’ve heard so many good things about his books! I really want to read them!

  9. January 21, 2011 10:29 am

    I can hardly wait to read these two books. I’ve spent time in the Keys, almost moved there in my 20s, and lived in another part of Florida. I’ve always thought it had a feeling of a place where strange things might happen.

  10. Kathy P permalink
    January 21, 2011 10:43 am

    Thanks for the wonderful opportunity! Would love to win!!!

  11. January 21, 2011 10:46 am

    I have yet to read my copy of So Cold The River Kathy and see that I had better get a movie on it now that the author has out another book and a just as good if not even better read! Great review!

  12. Julie H. permalink
    January 21, 2011 11:07 am

    I don’t know how I’ve managed to miss Koryta, but his books sound great. I like suspense–thanks for the info!

  13. January 21, 2011 11:42 am

    I’m excited to start this book. I loved SO COLD THE RIVER and my mysstery book group is reading that one for March. I’m a little nervous because some people are wrinkling their noses about the supernatural element, but I told them it’s different than they will expect. Good to hear this one works well. I think there will be another one from Koryta in the summer.

  14. January 21, 2011 12:54 pm

    I love books like this. I am glad you enjoyed it, Kathy! And the first one too!

  15. January 21, 2011 1:15 pm

    I’ve never read this author, and I think I’m missing out!

  16. January 21, 2011 1:41 pm

    Don’t ya just love a book that is so intense you can’t put it down? And the covers are so pretty.

  17. January 21, 2011 2:10 pm

    I really want to read these books…they sound intense and really good.

    Thank you for a lovely review and giveaway!!!

  18. January 21, 2011 2:23 pm

    I also read So Cold The River and enjoyed it. After reading your review, this one is definitely going on my personal tbr list. Fantastic review!!!! Filling out the form…would love to win!!!

  19. January 21, 2011 4:17 pm

    Great contest!

  20. January 21, 2011 4:27 pm

    I have not read either of these books and both sound brilliant. Thank you for the chance to win them.

  21. January 21, 2011 4:42 pm

    Sounds like a great book, Kathy! Actually, both sound amazing. I’ve entered the giveaway and will post this in my blog’s sidebar.

  22. January 21, 2011 4:42 pm

    I do like of an author manages to make supernatural things seem perfectly normal. Sure I like my vamp books, but sometimes it is the small things that used seem right

  23. January 21, 2011 4:48 pm

    Wow — these books sound great. I love the setting, too, as I have spent some time on the gulf coast. Perfect setting, I think, to create tension :)

  24. January 21, 2011 5:52 pm

    Looks like a good one! Filled out the form.

  25. Sandy Jay permalink
    January 21, 2011 6:15 pm

    Great giveaway. Thanks

  26. January 21, 2011 6:27 pm

    This sounds sooo good, Kathy!! I am adding it to my wishlist right now!! Have a great weekend!

  27. January 21, 2011 7:05 pm

    I love it when a second outing with a favorite author is as good as the first!

    No need to enter me in the giveway (still trying to catch up on books).

  28. January 21, 2011 9:34 pm

    Oooohhh…sounds really good. I’m definitely going to enter. Thanks.

  29. January 21, 2011 10:13 pm

    I’m very curious about this author now. I read many raving reviews of both So Cold the River and The Cypress House, but haven’t yet gone ahead and read his books. I’m going to see if my library has either of his books.

  30. January 22, 2011 11:52 am

    to emulate Captain Kirk from Star Trek… ahem with a few editorial edits to the screenplay words…

    “Sign me up” Kathy!

    I love anything that makes me peak out under my sheets while reading.
    Off I go to sign me up on the entry forms ;)

  31. Genna Sarnak permalink
    January 22, 2011 1:00 pm

    Oh, this is awesome! Thanks so much for sharing. The Cypress House looks uber interesting! :) I signed up!

  32. January 22, 2011 11:10 pm

    Great review! Ive never read any books from this author, but your review makes me want to!! Signed up to try and win the books!!

  33. January 23, 2011 1:38 pm

    Oooh these both seem so great!

  34. January 23, 2011 5:08 pm

    Loved the review, Kathy!! No need to enter me, I’ve read both. :)

  35. January 23, 2011 5:29 pm

    After reading your review I’m hooked and want to get my hands on a copy of this one!

  36. January 24, 2011 12:54 pm

    No need to enter me, but I hope to get to this one soon. Great review.

  37. January 24, 2011 7:38 pm

    I love page turning suspense so I am going to fill out the form and hope to win!

  38. escapingjourney permalink
    January 24, 2011 9:35 pm

    This sounds different, but very good. I just love a book that makes you want to ignore everything and keep turning till you get to the last page.

  39. January 25, 2011 1:04 pm

    I just put this one on my wish list yesterday. Looks good!!

  40. January 26, 2011 8:46 am

    It is on my wish list!

  41. January 28, 2011 10:43 am

    ooo! This sounds really good! And I haven’t read his first one yet either, so I would be thrilled to win your giveaway. Thanks for hosting it!

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