The Cypress House


Michael Koryta has spun yet another story with just the right amount of supernatural happenings. The Cypress House begins with World War I vet, Arlen Wagner, heading south on a train with his young friend Paul Brickhill to work in the CCC camps. Arlen has a disturbing skill of being able to foresee death. A skill he developed during the war. When he sees death in the other passengers he leaves the train taking Paul with him.

Arlen and Paul get picked up by a man named Sorenson who takes them through Florida while he does his "pick-ups." Sorenson winds up at the Cypress House, a run down place on the west coast of Florida run by Rebecca Cady. Rebecca doesn't want visitors. She wants Sorenson to make his pick up, take everybody and leave. Stuck at the Cypress House because of a family debt to a crooked local sheriff Rebbecca just wants to bide her time until her brother, Owen, gets out of jail.

Once Owen is released and returns to the Cypress House things take a turn for the worse. Owen wants to continue working for the drug runners, but Rebbecca wants to leave. The bodies start to pile up. Arlen tries to devise an escape plan for everyone, but sees death everywhere. And so the story goes until the surprising climax.

Koryta writes a great book. Thriller but with a little bit of supernatural thrown in. It sounds strange, but it works. The power Arlen has is more of an ESP type power than a supernatural one and the power is more of a character trait than a driving force in the story. Well written and entertaining, this book is a great way to spend the grey days of late winter.

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