Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Review: THE CYPRESS HOUSE by Michael Koryta

The Cypress HouseA kind of supernatural noir mixed with an original pulp style that somehow oozes Stephen King at the height of his craft. In a nutshell, THE CYPRESS HOUSE by Michael Koryta is a genre defying piece of fiction that could easily have been passed off as a Stephen King novel - a complement and testament to Koryta's ability. The supernatural blend seamlessly into the world of 1930's American crime.

There's a rural feel and distinct sense of isolation throughout THE CYPRESS HOUSE. Arlen Wagner can sense imminent death amongst people he comes in direct contact with - a gift and a curse at the same time. His father had the same ability, one that additionally allowed him to speak to the dead - something which Arlen struggled to come to terms with throughout his life.

Led by a series of events courtesy of Arlen's ability, he, and 19yr old Paul Brickhill find themselves stranded at the isolated Cypress House, a boarding house on the Gulf Coast, just as a powerful storm hits, the wind kicking up long kept secrets as dangerous as the rising tide and flying debris.

Rebbecca Cady, a beautiful women with a brother in jail and a murdered father is both strong willed and struggling to maintain control of the criminal situation she so finds herself. The arrival of Arlen and Paul, while unexpected provides a glimmer of hope, a way to potentially sever the ties that hold her to the corrupt and mobbed-up lawmen of Corridor County.

I enjoyed THE CYPRESS HOUSE. It was vastly different from the PI novels I'd previously read by Koryta in TONIGHT I SAID GOODBYE and SORROWS ANTHEM and reminded me of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. The supernatural element was there, however I would've loved to have seen more of that within the Cypress House as apposed to Arlen's plan to foil a drug run and commit murder. That said, there was a lot to like about THE CYPRESS HOUSE and I'll certainly be tracking down more of Koryta's supernatural/horror novels.

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