Michael Koryta's first novel, the Edgar Award-nominated Tonight I Said Goodbye, was published when he was just twenty-one and was followed by Sorrow's Anthem, A Welcome Grave, Envy the Night, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and The Silent Hour and his most recent book, So Cold the River. His works have been translated into twenty languages. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where he has worked as a newspaper reporter and private investigator, and in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Set in Florida in 1935, Koryta's masterful follow-up to So Cold the River effectively combines supernatural terror with the suffocating fatalism of classic American noir. Since serving as a Marine in WWI, Arlen Wagner has been able to identify people marked for death by something only he can see-smoke swirling in their eyes. While riding a train with 33 other Civilian Conservation Corps workers, Arlen spots smoke in the eyes of his fellow passengers. Certain the train is headed for disaster, he can persuade only one of them, 19-year-old Paul Brickhill, to get off at the next stop. Arlen and Paul wind up at a boarding house, where they become involved with its operator, the mysterious and beautiful Rebecca Cady, who's somehow beholden to some vicious and corrupt local law enforcement officials. 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. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Arlen Wagner sees smoke in the eyes of men fated to die. Abandoning a train of soon-to-be corpses with a young passenger, he travels through a Florida coastal county filled with corrupt officials, cowed people...and more signs of imminent death. 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. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 8/10.]-Colleen S. Harris, Univ. of Tennessee at Chattanooga Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.