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Publisher's Summary

In this first stand-alone novel from the critically acclaimed Edgar Award-finalist, Michael Koryta fulfills his early promise with a dark and mature novel of a young man trying to escape his past. It has been seven years since Frank Temple III joined the rest of the world in learning his father's bloody secret: The U.S. marshal maintained a covert career as a contract killer, a double-life that ended in suicide to avoid prosecution and prison. The shocking revelation triggered years of anonymous drifting for Frank, time spent running from his legacy and struggling to believe that the father he'd loved so dearly was entirely in the wrong. After all, the victims hadn't been innocents. And Devin Matteson, the man who'd lured his father into the killing game only to later give him up to the FBI, is probably the darkest of the lot.
Those are troubling thoughts, and Frank tries to stay away from them. But when an old family friend calls to say that Matteson is returning to the isolated Wisconsin lake that was once sacred ground for their families, it's a homecoming Frank knows he can't allow.
His arrival in town reveals a situation far from the expected, though. While Matteson is nowhere to be found, his old cabin is indeed occupied - by a strange, beautiful woman and a nervous man with a gun. When a pair of assassins from Miami arrive on their heels, Frank knows Matteson can't be far behind. And while the wise move would be to call in the police and get out of town fast, that just doesn't feel right. After all, contract killer or not, Frank's father was at heart a teacher. And his son excelled at the lessons.
Family secrets, mob hit-men, and a father's shadowy legacy combine to make this Koryta's most compelling thriller yet.
©2009 Michael Koryta (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

Los Angeles Times Book Prize - Mystery/Thriller, 2008

"Koryta is one of the best of the best, plain and simple." (Michael Connelly)
"This thriller places Koryta solidly in the company of the genre's most powerful voices." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Albert on 05-10-10

So much fun!

We loved this book! It was lots of fun: suspenseful and easy to listen to.
A nice mix. The narrator was easy to follow and we enjoyed his audio portrayal of all the book's characters.

We will be looking for more works by this author, Michael Koryta AND this narrator, Mark Boyett.

Thank you for creating such a pleasant listening esperience.

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5 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Jane on 03-05-13

Wow. Really good suspense thriller.

Good ending. Good lines. I didn’t want to stop reading.

I liked Frank. His hit man father trained him with guns and fighting. When faced with violence, he’s lightning fast and tough. It’s fun that bad guys have no idea what they’re up against. But Frank does not want a violent profession. He has been wandering for several years, trying different colleges. He thought about writing.

I liked the character Ezra. He came from Detroit where he was around too much violence - killing and maiming for dollars. To get away he volunteered for Vietnam, which wasn’t as bad. Then he moved to northern Wisconsin and became a hunting and fishing guide. I liked his thought that “the lake and forest drained away the violence. It had healed him.” I loved that Ezra was an unknown threat. Thugs had no idea what they were up against.

I liked the end of the book. The main characters survive. They are kind of lost, yet they want to stay in the area. It’s as if they will be healed by staying there - kind of the way Ezra was healed. I liked the way the author described a “neediness in the eyes.”

Throughout the book, I was smiling. - smiling at the joy of a good writer. There were some great action scenes. Some hit men come to the area. They attack Nora who owns an auto body shop. Frank coincidentally arrives in time to save her. More attacks and violence come later.

I liked the logic and reasons for characters put in harms way. I didn’t feel the author was using stupidity except one time. Nora did something stupid which put her in danger. Frank should have insisted on something, yet emotions were involved. So I forced myself to go with it.

I laughed and chuckled several times, not because of comedy, but because I was delighted and surprised at thoughts and actions.

Examples of good lines.

1. After seeing a thug do something and watching Devin, Frank thinks “Devin is good at these things - kidnaping and murder.”

2. One FBI agent tells a second agent not to come to town or he’ll arrest him. As soon as they hang up, the second guy picks up his car keys.

3. After witnessing some violence, Frank was being questioned at the police station. A new guy walks in and Frank asked him where he was from. The guy said what makes you think I’m not from here. Frank said “You don’t look excited.”

I loved the way the author was inside various characters’ heads: Jerry, Nora, Frank, Grady, Ezra. It’s why third person is so great. You can feel the fear and suspense and strategies inside various characters. When they pondered, it was the right amount. It added good depth.

A couple of times I did not like the jumping around. Bad guy pulls a knife, then the scene switches to another place and characters before telling what happened with the knife. It’s a typical writing device to prolong suspense. It’s artificial. I did not like it. There was plenty of “natural suspense” due to thugs in the area.

The narrator Mark Boyett was excellent except for one thing. His voice for Nora was too wimpy whiny or something. Some men have trouble voicing women. It’s ok not to raise your voice to a high pitch. Just use a regular voice with the emotions the woman would have. Other than that I loved his tone and the way he interpreted. Good sense of wonder.

I was disappointed with The Cypress House published three years later. Gave it 2 ½ stars. Koryta has a Lincoln Perry detective series that I might try sometime.

Genre: mystery suspense thriller

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6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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