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The Cypress House by Michael Koryta

The Cypress House by Michael Koryta

When you read a book at night until it unnerves you so much that you have to put it down to go sleep and then you dream about it, you know you have a great book!  The Cypress House takes place in 1935 and focuses on Arlen Wagner. As a veteran of World War I, he develops the ability to tell when someone was about to die. 

After the war, he is working as a CCC worker and is asked to take a train down to the Florida Keys to help build the bridge out to Key West. Unfortunately, when the train reaches Florida, Arlen can tell that everyone on that train is about to die. He attempts to convince everyone on the train to get off, but the only one who listens to him is a teenage boy, Paul Brickhill, who has been traveling with him.

They begin walking and wind up at the Cypress House, a secluded fishing resort in one of the Keys. The resort owner, Rebecca Cady, reluctantly offers them a place to stay. They find out that there is a hurricane approaching -- one of the worst hurricanes that the Florida Keys has ever experienced. Arlen and Paul soon realize that everyone in the train washed out to sea during the hurricane, but the Cypress House and the people who utilize it are even more frightening than the hurricane. Unfortunately, Arlen and Paul are both falling in love with Rebecca and cannot leave Cypress House.

The Hurricane of 1935 was an actual event and if anything, was even worse than what Koryta portrayed in the book.  This book led me on a fact-finding excursion regarding the hurricane that was fascinating! The thread of supernatural combined with well-developed characters and a fast-moving plot made this a fabulous read.