The Cypress Trap
by JC Gatlin
The Cypress Trap is currently on tour with Reading Addiction Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
A good vacation delivers you home alive.
This is not a good vacation.
This is not a good vacation.
When Rayanne commandeers 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.
Rayanne heard the kids’ voices, and she looked again at the old cars in the bottom of the ditch. The first thing that came to mind was rattlesnakes. But she knew she couldn’t think of that right now.
She got up and headed for the rusted jeep. The hood was gone and it looked like a corpse left to rot in the sun. She glanced at the other cars. There was a hatchback with no doors. A pickup was off to one side, on blocks. The wheels had been removed and the driver’s side door thrown open and left to hang. There was a yellow Volkswagen Beetle half buried in the dirt.
Brown and yellow weeds sprouted up between the wrecks, but the ground was hard and Rayanne knew she had no choice. She raced past the rusting jeep, watching where she stepped.
She moved to the shell of a Volkswagen Beetle. It had two doors. She forced the passenger side open and looked into the dank interior. The overhead lining draped down like a misty shroud. Weeds had grown through the undercarriage and overtaken the floorboards. But two front seats and a long backseat remained. It could be a hiding place, she thought, and squeezed herself into the backseat. She cowered as low as she could.
She held her breath and prayed there was nothing living inside.
She shut her eyes and listened. The teens’ voices grew louder. They sounded like they were coming down into the hollow and she could hear Scut - or was it Roddy - say something about the cars. He sounded excited.
Dru was farther away. Rayanne could hear her calling the dog. Perhaps she didn’t want to walk down into the dump. It didn’t matter. Rayanne knew Scut and Roddy already had.
Their voices echoed, slipping between the cars. One of them said something about the pile of tires and the other laughed. She could hear them moving about, throwing rocks on metal remains, until they stopped right in front of the Volkswagen.
Rayanne stopped breathing.
“She’s hide’n here somewhere,” Scut was saying. He threw another rock and it hit the bumper. The sound reverberated through the Volkswagen, and Rayanne shivered.
“Naaaah,” Roddy said. It sounded like he was walking away. “I don’t think so. She’s a woman. She ain’t gonna come down here.”
“We’re not leav’n till we search every car.” Scut sounded like he was stepping away too. She could hear him throwing rocks at other cars now.
Rude Roddy was saying something when one of them screamed. For a second Rayanne thought Dru had made her way down into the dump. She was surprised to learn it was Scut.
“There’s a rattler! There’s a rattler!” Scut’s high-pitched wail echoed through the hollow, and she heard what sounded like some kind of skirmish. Perhaps an avalanche of gravel rolled down the slopes of the hollow, like marbles beneath their feet.
“I hate snakes! I hate ’em!” Scut’s voice rapidly moved away, and it sounded as far as Dru’s now. The girl asked them what was wrong.
They had to have climbed out of the hollow, Rayanne thought. She opened her eyes. She wanted to poke her head up, but didn’t dare.
Praise for the Book
"It was difficult for me to put this down long enough to feed the dogs. Ordinary people, extraordinary circumstances. Not for the faint of heart." ~ Kookiemomster48
"This is a well-crafted thriller that draws you in early and resolves itself well. [...] The writing was solid [...] Nice effort!" ~ WR-Reckless Traveler
"J.C. Gatlin has presented the reader with a truly suspenseful thriller in the book entitled The Cypress Trap. The author develops his characters to the point you begin to feel as if they are real. You will suffer with them and maybe even cry with them. [...] I strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thrillers. There is only one warning about this book; make sure you lock the doors and windows and close the shutters tightly." ~ Grouch
"The characters are well described and are sympathetic. They find themselves in a dire predicament where the reader could see themselves with a little imagination. The reader becomes engrossed and will find it difficult to put the book down." ~ michael a. draper
"A suspense thriller is right! As I was reading this book, I couldn’t help but get images of action and thriller movies in my head of murderers and eerie scenes with helpless victims, as well as cops trying to solve the crimes and suspects you would unrightfully blame for the misdeeds committed. Easy to read through, lots of dialogue, and an intense way of narrating." ~ Vincent
About the Author
Coming from a large family with five brothers, JC Gatlin grew up in Grapevine, Texas, a small town outside of Dallas. In 1999 he moved to Tampa, Florida, where he now resides. JC’s fishing trips help him breathe authenticity into his stories, which feature the rich landscapes of Texas and Florida as backdrops.
He has written a monthly column in New Tampa Style magazine and penned several mystery-suspense stories. His first, The Designated Survivor, was published in 2013. JC invites you to visit his mystery writing blog.