My rating: 4 of 5 stars
World War I ended 15 years ago, but veteran Arlen Wagner is still dealing with its aftereffects. Arlen’s a loner, but has befriended a young man, Paul Brickhill, during their work with the CCC, and as the book opens, they’re riding a train to Florida to work on an exciting bridge project. But things don’t work out as expected, for Arlen has the unusual skill of seeing death in the eyes of those whose lives are about to end, and knows the train is heading for disaster. Arlen and Paul disembark, and are offered a ride to a small town on the coast, ending at The Cypress House, an inn that receives very few guests despite it’s lovely location. For there is corruption in the air, both literally and figuratively, and both the men and their hostess, the alluring Rebecca, will soon be fighting for their own lives.
The Cypress House is a suspenseful, dark, and brooding novel, not for the faint of heart. It’s not the slasher sort of horror story, but there are plenty of unpleasant surprises, the menace ratcheting up with each new shock. Author Kortya has captured both the feel of the depression era and the cloying, jungle-like atmosphere of southern Florida. Arlen is the most captivating of the characters. Once he figures out what is going on around him, he recognizes and accepts the need to dig deep within his own psyche if the trio are to survive. Intricate, satisfying, and well-written.