The Cypress Trap
By J.C. Gatlin
When Rayanne commanders her husband’s weekend fishing trip, she knows it’ll take work to adjust Owen’s attitude. She has no choice. Since the tragedy, they lost so much. They need to reconnect.
Without her knowledge, Owen texts his best buddy, Daryl, to join the getaway. The three of them aren’t alone in the backwoods of Georgia, though. Owen took something that didn’t belong to him. Something that changed their lives. And now the owner wants it back. By any means — including a posse led by a killer dog.
At first, Rayanne is clueless about the item and its value. One thing becomes crystal clear: If it’s not returned, they might not make it home alive.
As she ran, she felt disoriented and lost. Pausing, she gasped for breath. She was certain she heard voices again. The teenagers were chasing her. She was sure of it.
The Cypress Trap was one of those quick reads that keeps you on the end of your seat the whole time you’re reading it. It’s short enough where you can read it all in one complete seating, but exciting enough to make you not even notice until you hit the back cover of the book.
The story is a bit of a slow burner. Initially, we’re following the beginning of a fishing trip with married couple, Rayanne and Owen. While it’s obvious the two are a bit distant and Rayanne is attempting to force romance back into their lives, it’s also clear that there is a dark cloud of despair and complication looming over their heads. To make matters worse, Rayanne is seemingly paranoid about being followed after seeing an unmarked black van a few times on their way to the lake. Turns out her instincts were pretty spot on.
Once the threat of this ragtag group of teenagers is established (BTW who the hell names their child Scut?), its smooth sailing for this roller coaster thriller. I found myself needing to get to the next page as quickly as possible just to find out what happened next. Also, I felt the constant need to shout at Rayanne from time to time. There was a lot of “get up and run, dummy” and “use the tire iron!” going on. She sort of reminded me of your pseudo-typical girl from a slasher film. She’s capable, but she is constantly thinking about other things.
The introduction of the item Owen took years ago was a really interesting twist. After realizing the power of this item, it made the irritations I had with a few things between Owen and Rayanne a bit more tolerable. Though, my irritations could have come from the fact that I found Owen completely unlikable and Rayanne a bit of a sad puppy. In the ends, they really just couldn’t help the things that happened to them. Their luck just turned for the worse.
While there were a few things about this book that were inconsistent; for example, there are logistics between the injuries sustained by certain characters and their sudden ability to run away and how the hell did this kids even find them in the woods? But, overall, the book was extremely enjoyable, quick and a thoroughly exciting thriller.
JC Gatlin lives in Tampa, Florida. In addition to regular fishing trips, he wrote a monthly column for New Tampa Style Magazine, then began penning several mystery/suspense stories. He also maintains a blog about the art of spinning a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat mystery yarn.
Coming from a large family with five brothers, JC grew up in Grapevine — a small Texas town just outside of Dallas. He moved to Tampa in 1999, and most of his stories feature the rich landscapes of Texas and Florida as backdrop.