The Cypress House

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Finalist for the 2012 Audie Award for Paranormal

A journey to Florida’s coast becomes an inescapable nightmare in this supernatural thriller from international bestseller Michael Koryta.

Arlen Wagner has seen it in men before—a trace of smoke in their eyes that promises imminent death. He is never wrong.

When Arlen awakens on a train one hot Florida night and sees death’s telltale sign in the eyes of his fellow passengers, he tries to warn them. Only nineteen-year-old Paul Brickhill believes him, and the two abandon the train, hoping to escape certain death. They continue south but are soon stranded at the Cypress House—an isolated Gulf Coast boarding house run by the beautiful Rebecca Cady—directly in the path of an approaching hurricane.

The storm isn’t the only approaching danger, though. A much deadlier force controls the county and everyone living in it, and Arlen wants out—fast. However, Paul refuses to abandon Rebecca to face the threats alone, even though Arlen’s eerie gift warns that if they stay too long they may never leave. From its chilling beginning to terrifying end, The Cypress House is a story of relentless suspense from “one of the best of the best” (Michael Connelly).

Editorial Reviews


"This book builds like a summer storm. Beautiful to watch until it shakes the house and knocks out the lights, leaving you alone in the dark. Another masterful work from Michael Koryta, SO COLD THE RIVER is guaranteed to put the cold finger down your spine.
Michael Connelly
An icy, terrifying winner. So Cold the River puts an October chill in your blood by the end of the first chapter. It's not much longer before you've turned on all the lights and rechecked all the window locks. Few novelists warrant mention alongside Stephen King or Peter Straub. Michael Koryta, however, earns comparison to both.Dennis LehaneKortya's SO COLD THE RIVER is an example of the good-writing equals good-reading equation that makes fright-inducing fiction worthy of our time, attention, and real enjoyment.Dan Simmons, author of The Terror and DroodSo Cold the River is a great story, but what held me was the lean, clean prose and the sharp presentation of scenes and dialogue. Michael Koryta is a good story teller and a wonderful stylist.Joe R. LansdaleMichael Koryta is a gifted storyteller. His writing reminded me of the great Ruth Rendell--eerie, suspenseful, and pleasantly wicked. If you're looking for a dose of Midwestern Gothic at its best, SO COLD THE RIVER will be just the thing for you.Scott Smith, author of A Simple Plan and The Ruins

The Cypress House is a unique and entertaining blend of noir and paranormal suspense, with a tightly controlled supernatural thread a as believable as the gunplay. Mr. Koryta is at the start of what will surely be a great career. He’s now on my must-read list.”

Dean Koontz, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“The last scenes in the novel, just as eerie, verify Koryta’s knack for putting a supernatural spin on the angst depicted in classic noir fiction.”

New York Times 

"A deliciously dark tale. Koryta is a fantastic storyteller.”

Scott Smith, New York Times bestselling author

The Cypress House is a dazzling blend of suspense, the supernatural, and superb storytelling. What a gifted writer. Michael Koryta is the real deal.”

Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author

The Cypress House builds to a seriously tense and twisted final act.”

Entertainment Weekly

“When it comes to plot and suspense, Koryta knows what he’s doing. He paces the novel masterfully.”

Columbus Dispatch

The Cypress House begins with pulse-racing promise [and] sprints to a filmic, white-knuckled finish.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer

“In Michael Koryta’s The Cypress House…he makes this curious mix of supernatural prescience and gothic noir work with a seamless atmospheric certainty.”

Houston Chronicle

“Michael Koryta is mining Stephen King territory and carving out a spot all his own.”

Women’s World

“Koryta’s masterful follow-up to So Cold the River effectively combines supernatural terror with the suffocating fatalism of classic American noir…Koryta excels at describing both scenery and his characters’ inner landscapes. It’s hard to think of another book with equal appeal to Stephen King and Cornell Woolrich fans.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Koryta masterfully weaves together disparate threads (organized crime; drifters; a haunted, beautiful woman; powerful men; an isolated boardinghouse; the great hurricane of 1935) in a story where every decision can cause your death—or help you escape it. Verdict: Koryta’s second attempt at supernatural suspense after So Cold the River offers a much richer experience with better developed characters and more polished storytelling. Murder mystery and ghost story fans will want first crack at this new title. Highly recommended for all public libraries.”

Library Journal (starred review)

“The eerie but fascinating tale follows the efforts of the two men, along with Rebecca survive not only the massive 1935 hurricane which caused severe death and destruction but the human forces that ruled the area. Written with an excellent eye for describing life during the Great Depression, the novel also exhibits a deep view of human emotions... Highly recommended.”

Midwest Book Review

“Following up his acclaimed gothic, So Cold the River, Koryta blends gritty noir and ghostly visions...the novel builds to a richly satisfying climax...A commanding performance.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Narrator Robert Petkoff knows just how to manipulate his voice to send shivers down listeners’ spines in this ever-so-slightly supernatural story of corruption and death in Depression-era Florida. Arlen has the gift—or curse—of being able to see when another person is approaching death. In this otherwise straightforward novel of suspense, Arlen’s paranormal ability might be a hard sell, but Petkoff conveys his emotions so convincingly that listeners will never question the plot device. The Cypress House is a creepy tale that will keep listeners wondering what the next twist will bring. A 2012 Audies finalist.”


Author Biography

Michael Koryta is the New York Times bestselling author of ten novels, most recently Those Who Wish Me Dead. His previous novels—including The Prophet, The Ridge, and So Cold The River—were New York Times Notable Books, national bestsellers, and have been nominated for numerous awards, including having won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A former private investigator and newspaper reporter, Koryta graduated from Indiana University with a degree in criminal justice. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Bloomington, Indiana.

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Reader Biography

Robert Petkoff has appeared on Chappelle’s Show, Law & Order, and Quantum Leap. His Broadway credits include Sir Robin in Spamalot, Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof, and Tateh in Ragtime. His audiobook narrations have won multiple Audiofile Earphones Awards as well as a coveted Audie Award.

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