Clark Hallman's Reviews > The Cypress House

The Cypress House by Michael Koryta
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's review
Aug 22, 2012

really liked it

In The Cypress House, Michael Koryta has crafted another very interesting crime novel with a supernatural twist. Arlen Wagner is a World War 1 veteran who had fought in the horrific Belleau Wood battle in France that left 1,811 US soldiers dead. After the war, the Great Depression left him and millions of others without work. As this novel begins, Arlen works for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). He and Paul Brickhill, a teenager he had taken under his wing, are on a train with other CCC workers headed for a new camp in the Florida Keys. However, Arlen also has the ability to see when those around him are about to die, and he knows that everyone around him and Paul are going to die on that train. Therefore, he persuades Paul to leave the train and they eventually make their way to The Cypress House, a fishing resort in a remote area of the Florida Gulf Coast that is run by the beautiful Rebecca Cady. Unfortunately, Arlen and Paul are arrested for the murder of the man who gave them a ride to the resort. Although they are eventually released from jail, they find themselves stranded at the resort without any money. They are also victimized by a corrupt and incredibly ruthless judge, police chief, and their paid henchmen/assassins, who have also been victimizing Rebecca. However, Arlen knows how to endure hardship and survive. He also knows how to kill when it is the right thing to do. Koryta is a very skilled writer. He is adept at creating unique and exotic settings and complex stories with interesting and believable characters. In The Cypress House, he builds a feeling of impending doom for Arlen, Paul, Rebecca, and the reader. He then provides a very suspenseful conclusion, which includes plenty of violence along with a supernatural twist. The Cypress House is another excellent and compelling novel by Koryta. I liked it very much.

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