Artificial secret keeping, stupidity, too much helpless victim feel.
This was not entertaining or fun. I was not surprised or delighted. I liked the beginning, but the longer I read the more annoyed and frustrated I felt. The biggest problem was subject matter. The second problem was people keeping secrets for no good reason.
Secrets were used to create mystery and conflict. They did not make sense. Some were stupid. Several times I wanted to shake a character and say “tell them.”
Arlen loves Paul like a son and does things to help and protect Paul. At the end of the book, Paul has been given a gift from an anonymous source. Arlen is the source but does not tell Paul he did it. Why keep that secret? It was the end of the book and I was ready for some happy feelings, but instead I get another secret. I was annoyed.
Many of the secrets were Rebecca not telling Arlen what was going on. Arlen also kept secrets from Paul. I liked Envy the Night by this author. In that book characters didn’t tell all they knew, but it fit their motivations.
SUBJECT MATTER - METAPHOR STYLE:
Two guys are looking for work and accidentally walk into a nest of poisonous snakes. Instead of running away like sane people, they stay because of a pretty girl. The leader of the snakes tells the girl he will kill her brother if she doesn’t do what he wants. The brother is tied up. She thinks as soon as he gets untied they can leave. But when he is no longer tied, he wants to stay. She doesn’t tell him the snakes are poisonous. And she continues to NOT tell him. Most of the story is about snakes threatening good guys.
In contrast, in Envy the Night by Koryta, thugs come to town and have no idea that two very skilled and talented good guys will cause problems for them. That was fun because the good guys had some control. That is also what’s going on with the fabulously successful Jack Reacher series (by Lee Child). Thugs have no idea what they’re up against when they meet Reacher. In Cypress, the good guys have no power and suffer.
I feel helpless when I think about corruption in the world around me. I read fiction to feel good. I want to see someone with control. Books like this pull me down rather than up.
ACTUAL STORY BRIEF:
Arlen was a soldier in WWI who is now traveling with Paul looking for work during the depression. They pass through a town where the judge and sheriff are part of a drug organization. When Arlen and Paul arrive, the judge and sheriff put them in jail, beat them, and take all their money. When they get out of jail, instead of leaving they hang around.
A secondary story is Arlen’s psychic gift. He sees smoke in the eyes of people who will die. His father had a psychic gift of talking to people after they died.
OPINION ABOUT THE PSYCHIC TALENTS:
The story was good in the beginning about Arlen’s gift. And the ending climax scene had some of this which was very good. But the main story would have been better if it focused more on this gift - having more psychic things happening during the middle of the book.
Another annoyance: Arlen kept insisting that his father was insane which was not true. And Arlen did not believe his father had a psychic ability. Because Arlen had his own psychic gift, it did not make sense that he disbelieved his father’s.
MY FAVORITE PART:
Paul was fun to watch and think about. He was a 19-year-old engineering genius. He was in control when it came to machines and structures.
The narrator Robert Petkoff was pretty good. But I have mixed feelings about his southern drawl for Arlen.
Genre: paranormal mystery suspense
I did like the underlying premise of seeing/talking with the dead as it was unusual for this genre but would have been interesting in a science fiction story as well as a mystery. The mysterious boarding house at a remote Gulf Coast seaside in the mid 30's was also quite nice and added to the drama. What I found frustrating, and at times quite so, was the seemingly out of character response/reactions of the lead character. I recall shutting down the Ipod while listening to the story on my trip only to have to turn it back on again because I hadn't loaded another book. My mistake! I don't know if the responses might have "sounded" more realistic had a different tone been used by the narrater but even if that were true it would not have made up for some of the reactions scripted by the author for the main character. Overall, in my mind the book had a much better than average premise and location but a main character who did not seem to react in character much of the time.
This book only gets 3 stars from me because, so far of the 9 books I've listened to by Mr. Koryta, this is my least favorite. It becomes obvious pretty shortly in the story that this is one of the authors earlier works. His characters are good, but the plot doesn't move quickly, the setting isn't as fully developed as other books, and towards the end the story starts to really drag. I don't have to be told how "evil" the antagonist is a hundred times before I get it. He has gotten better with his editing since, but still Koryta remains a far better author than a good majority of the trite works ending up on audible now. So, if you like a good thriller-style story, it's a recommended listen.
I do like Michael Koryta. I just didn't enjoy this book as much as most others seemed to.
To me, I just thought it was a bit slow.
I don't know.
I'm a avid listener, 1000+ in my collection. Some of my favorite series includes: Charlaine Harris's Sookie S., J.K's Harry P. and K. Armstrongs Otherworld. Single books T. Clancy's Hunt for Red October and S. Meyer's The Host.
I tried to get into this book, I even made it far past the halfway point. But, I just got tired of all the bad choices and secrets that the characters kept from one another. I figure that if I spend a good amount of time thinking "What the hell are you thinking?" or getting aggravated when a character does or doesn't do something or does or doesn't say something it's time to put the book to bed. I read (listen) for pleasure and relaxation, not to get my blood pressure up. The one bright star in the time spent on this book was that the narrator is a good one.
And Buffalo George
So exciting that I read it all at once. The story of Florida people during the depression of the 1930s and how they deal with an oppressive county government. One of them can see into death and the author effectively incorporates that into the story. Th exciting and surprise conclusion lasts for 1-2 hours-prolonging the suspense. Kortya--ya dun gud!
This was a disappointment. Although it was atmospheric and had some good writing, it was overly long and, even more detrimental, there was no emotional depth to the characters. Even the good performance by Robert Petkoff didn't redeem it.
This is my second Koryta book, after a surprisingly wonderful time reading "So Cold the River" - this one is not as good, but still well worth the money and the time to listen. Koryta's at his best when he's not playing in Steven King's sandbox, and unfortunately, this book spends a little too much time there, drawing comparisons that are unfair, but there all the same.
The story's good, the historical context is interesting, and the reading is pretty good too, though the producer's heavy-handed use of a scary sound effect every time something scary happens is a bit silly - this doesn't detract too much from the experience but is kind of a facepalmer. It happens a lot at the beginning, which may turn you off, but then it calms down. I'd read another Koryta book, hands down, and finished this one in about a week, so minor gripes aside, it was one of the better ones I found on Audible this year.
This was a great read! It is also my first from Michale Koryta, but not my last. I found the characters believable with their flaws and even Arlen's ability to see death; which definitely underscores Koryta's writing skill. I loved the1930s Florida setting and the way you thought you knew what was going to happen and then realized you were just a bit off. The narrator did a terrific job in differenciating the various characters so you could "see" how they were interacting. If you enjoy mysteries set in the first half of the twentieth century, I believe you will find this author and narrator a wonderful combination. Try it!
This is the first audiobook I've heard in which sounds/music are insterted at specific points for dramatic effect. It was a little odd and distracting, but didn't ruin the story. The characters grew on me and I listened straight through, finishing it in two days, because I wanted to know what happened to them. That tells you a lot right there. The "bad guys" in the story are very evil indeed, while the "good guys" are normal, flawed individuals just trying to find their way to a little happiness in life. The protagonist's strange "gift" of knowing when someone is going to die adds a supernatural level; a gimmick to make the story work.