Cypress House

The Cypress House - Michael Koryta Synopsis:
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 19-year-old Paul Brickhill believes him, and the two abandon the train, hoping to escape certain death. They continue south, but soon are 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. But 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.

Michael Koryta does American Gothic very, very well and The Cypress Tree is no exception with its dazzling blend of noir ingredients - small-town corruption, lies, deceit and the Great Depression. The whole blend is shot through an atmosphere that drips with menace and fatalism, impending doom and just a touch of supernatural shenanigans.

Strong characterisations, rich sense of time and place, a well written plot and the hint of a tragic love triangle make this a steamy, southern slow burner to savour. Loved it!