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The Cypress House
Michael Koryta
Little, Brown and Company 2011
432 pages

The Cypress House is the latest (January 2011) supernatural mystery by Michael Koryta. The thing about the supernatural, is that anything can happen to throw the reader off base.  Here, it certainly does.  Simultaneously fascinating and creepy, with twists and moments that shock or make your skin crawl, The Cypress House is an entertaining mystery thriller.  Once it gets to you, it is hard to put down. Kindle: The Cypress House

It is 1935, and the U.S. is in the throes of the Depression.  Veterans from the Great War stream across country to join government work camps, in search of hope and enough money to eke out a living.  Among those on a train-full headed to Florida, is Arlen Wagner; a mysterious man with a special gift:  He has ominous visions and sees death in people s eyes.

When he issues a dire warning to his fellow passengers, the only other person who refuses to reboard, is 19 year-old Paul Brickhill.  As the two search for an alternate way south, they find themselves travelling along the Gulf to Cypress House; a rooming house and bar operated by Rebecca Caddy.  It’s the kind of place that changes people and where the mysteries begin.  It is also hurricane season, and a monster is roaring their way.

After their ride is met with foul play, Arlen and Paul become enmeshed in the intense, complicated relationships between Rebecca s family, and the cruel menacing presence who is the law.  Death and destruction seem the only way out.

Harbouring so many secrets, The Cypress House is both spooky and suspenseful.  Koryta draws the reader in and holds fast.  The latter segment is especially visual, and very good.  Nasty inclement weather provides the perfect backdrop.  Koryta describes it all very well.