Friday Morning Bookclub

August 18, 2011

The Cypress House By Michael Koryta: A Review By Ed

Filed under: Book Recomendations,The Cypress House — susanbright @ 11:41 am

It is the Depression, where thousands of World War I veterans are back after the war and the economy has taken its toll on our great nation.  Arlen Wagner has survived one of the bloodiest battles in France, the Battle of Belleau Woods, only to return to a jobless nation.  While in war ravaged France, he discovers a “gift”,  he can see those who will die before their death.  They turn to skeletonized specters when in the moonlight and have smoke filled eyes even in normal light.  This ability is terrifying, especially when his new-found young friend,   Paul Buckhill and he head to the Florida Keys for a government construction job.  During a routine train stop, their fellow workers and  passengers get off the train…and Arlen sees their skeletonized figures exit.

Convincing Paul that their journey to Florida is marked by certain death, the two hitch a ride with a colorful gangster to the south where they are likely to find work.  Their unlikely path takes them to a rundown Gulf Town in Florida where they are led to The Cypress House,  a small boarding house and bar run by the beautiful and hypnotic Rebecca.  The town is a gangland smugglers den, run by dangerous character that will stop at nothing to protect their secrets. The story leads to a path of mystery, murder, intrigue, and  seduction.  Mystical character development that delves to the core of our ethical and moral beliefs.

Does Arlen’s vision of death, set a path beyond any ability of change?  Can morality and goodness alter even the most imminent death?  Does love sustain and conquer against unfathomable odds?

Michael Kroyta writes in a fast pace elegant style, placing the reader in a Southern humid environment that literally drips off the pages.  He seamlessly blends the mystical with a believable cast of protagonists and antagonists.  This is a terrific fast paced read, full of character and spontaneity.  I highly recommend this to my male and female friends as a rare find, rich in intrigue, history, and mysticism. 

Perhaps we have all spoken to the dead at one time or another…if only in our dreams.



  1. I love this book club blog, because of the amazing insights that these readers give me into the books that I have read. Please keep up the good work !!! I appreciate it. Allan Wood

    Comment by ALLAN WOOD — August 18, 2011 @ 10:22 pm | Reply

    • Thank you Allen! I hope you come back and “blog” with us again soon. What are you currently reading ?

      Comment by susanbright — August 19, 2011 @ 8:59 am | Reply

  2. How does this book compare to a Stephen King book?

    Comment by Andi — August 20, 2011 @ 9:38 pm | Reply

    • The book is more elegant and less creepy than most of the King novels I have read, although Pet Sematary is one of my all time favorites.

      Comment by Ed — August 21, 2011 @ 10:25 pm | Reply

  3. Ed, Great review. This looks like a fascinating book.

    Comment by Marty — August 29, 2011 @ 1:37 pm | Reply

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