Audiobook Review: The Cypress House by Michael Koryta

10 02 2011

The Cypress House by Michael Koryta

Read by Robert Petkoff

Hachette Audio

Genre: Supernatural Thriller

Quick Thoughts: The team of Michael Koryta and Robert Petkoff once again offers us a truly special listening experience.

Grade: A

I only recently discovered Michael Koryta. I was looking for a few new mystery series to get into, when Koryta’s Lincoln Perry series was recommended to me. So, I gave them a try, and really enjoyed them. Yet, doing some more research into the writer I noticed he was now focusing on stand alone novels. Not only did he moved away from series writing, but also flipped genres moving from mysteries to supernatural thriller. Given that, I checked out his novel, So Cold the River and was so blown away by it, it made my Top 20 audiobooks of 2010, sitting nicely at number 4, and easily became my favorite novel of all time about mineral water.

Yet, I was a little skeptical when I began The Cypress House. Could Koryta again deliver a creepy, moody masterpiece on par with So Cold the River? As I began the audiobook, I became a little concerned, not with the storytelling, although sometimes a Depression Era setting can be, well, depressing, but, at the first moment of “super naturalness” we were hit with a creepy sound effect. Well, sound effects worked pretty well in So Cold the River, but I have also seen it turn audiobooks into corny radio dramas with screeching tires and gunshots. Luckily, this sound effect was pretty creepy, and fit well with the story. After that, Koryta totally sucked me into his world. I was totally enthralled by his flawed realistic characters, who both frustrated and excited me throughout the novel. The Supernatural elements were a key part of the novel, but never hijacked it. Koryta creates a path full of twists and turns, yet never loses control, building tension bit by bit until the well plotted, brilliant finale.

Robert Petkoff, who was so right for So Cold the River, is again superb in his handling of this novel. Petkoff has one of the best pure voices in the business, and handles the story with such appropriate restraint that it truly comes to life. His characters are read simply and believably, without overacting or vocal gymnastics. This is one of those audiobook experiences that allows you to just close your eyes and become totally immersed into it. Just don’t try it when you’re driving.

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2 responses

11 02 2011
Megan

Full disclosure: I work on marketing for Hachette Audio. However, I just wanted to chime in with how much your review rang true for my experience. SO COLD was my first Koryta book, and I was worried I’d be let down with the second one I was going to listen to – skeptical that it could be as amazing and spooky and compelling and weirdly realistic as SO COLD, and I was blown away as I realized he’s just that talented a writer!

(Not to mention the amazing Robert Petkoff – if you loved him, you should definitely try Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell.)

Thanks for listening! -Megan

30 05 2012

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