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Friday, July 8, 2011

Devils, Death and Detectives ~ "The Ridge" by Michael Koryta

Book Reviews from Others:
"Koryta delivers another supernatural thriller with punch....Part ghost story, part murder mystery, all thriller, this fast-paced and engaging read will have readers leaving the night-light on long after they have finished the book." (Publishers Weekly (starred review) )

"The choice is simple: Kill or be killed....Koryta, whose affection for the big cats and those who care for them is contagious, has produced a supernatural thriller that will raise goosebumps the size of golf balls." (Kirkus )

"A chilling supernatural thriller by [a] rising literary star" (Alexandra Alter, The Wall Street Journal )

Michael Koryta (pronounced ko-ree-ta) is the author of many novels, some of which have won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Great Lake Books Award, and St. Martin's Press/PWA Best First Novel prize, while also earning nominations for the Edgar, Quill, Shamus and Barry awards. In addition to winning the Los Angeles Times prize for best mystery, his novel Envy the Night was selected as a Reader's Digest condensed book. His work has been translated into nearly twenty languages. A former private investigator and newspaper reporter, Koryta graduated from Indiana University with a degree in criminal justice. He currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Bloomington, Indiana.

Watch This Great Trailer with Mr. Koryta~
You'll find more of his videos and interviews on YouTube under his name.  This means you just have to read more of his books!

My Review:
Earlier last year, I reviewed Koryta's "Cypress House." (Please see it on my blog in 2010) It was my first introduction to his writing.  I became an immediate addict...Michael Koryta is a master storyteller.  He is the type of author who could have us mesmerized for hours while we waited out a hurricane!  And, we'd never even know we were in the midst of one except that it would be a fitting setting for his story.  I could read his books in tandem and be entertained all week without boredom.

Koryta's genius, it seems to me, is that he draws us in right away by making the circumstances quite ordinary and believable.  The first chapter leaves us with a handful of questions; some of them not so obvious until we muse upon them.  So much fun to do that.  And, from that moment on, we are hooked.  We are driven by an urge to know...

His characters are so real, I feel as if I know them.  They are easily visualized.  They are easily understood from a psychological perspective.  However, this doesn't mean all is immediately as it seems, ever, in a Koryta novel.  My attention is driven by his type of characterization with the "brick hasn't yet fallen" suspense.  What I'm trying to convey is that you think you can "see" the characters, but he always leaves you with that mote of doubt that irritates your seeker's eye.

I wasn't expecting the supernatural context of this novel.  I frankly refrained from reading the overleaf because I didn't want to spoil a minute of the actual read for myself.  That's how good Mr. Koryta is!  So, I didn't expect this ghostly intrigue and it was a surprising addition for me.  From his typical writing genre as I knew it from "Cypress House" it was an unusual twist.  Reminiscent of the Gothic novel, it worked perfectly with a modern day police suspense/mystery in the end.

"The Ridge" is a book I couldn't stop reading until the end. I dreamt of it...I read it when I was eating, and I read it during commercials between the Casey Anthony murder trial.  This gives you some idea of the intensity of the writing skills of this author.  I'm obsessive about the Anthony Trial...and "The Ridge" tore me away at times!

I can do no more than strongly urge you to get to know Michael Koryta as an author with his mind and fingers on the pulse of new suspense/thriller writing.  If there is an evolution of writers with vision in this genre, Michael Koryta is leading the curve.  His work reminds me why I read suspense and thrillers.

Without going into the storyline of this book, which the reviews and trailer do above, I want to also say that it's a story that just left me with wide eyes and the feeling that it might really happen.  I'm not one to chase after ghosts and demons, but this book made me think twice...

5 stars



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