Author: Blake Crouch
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Sci-Fi.
Blake crouch gives a new meaning to page turners.
Welcome to wayward pines, where paradise is home. Secret service agent Ethan Burke arrives in wayward pines with no money, no ID, no keys, no phone and no memory.
The town is surrounded by pines and cliffs. The water is crystal clear and the air smells of fresh pine. It is a kind of town that would boost anyone’s health. If only Ethan had arrived here under different circumstances, for right now, every bone in his body aches, his head hurts and his face feels bruised and puffy. The medical staff at the town hospital is friendly, the receptionist at pines hotel is helpful, but Ethan has an eerie feeling at the back of his mind that something is very wrong in this paradise.
There are two protagonists in this story, one is Ethan Burke; father of Ben, husband of Theresa, an ex black hawk helicopter pilot and now a secret service agent who arrives in wayward pines looking for two missing federal agents. The whole story revolves around him; what he does and how he tries to figure things out. There are some other interesting characters too; nurse Pam for instance.
The second and rather more interesting protagonist in the story is the town itself, wayward pines; a climax community of pines and people in a state of equilibrium with each other and operating as one single unit. The town is not just a single unit but also an isolated one, as Ethan soon finds out when he is not able to make contact with anyone from the world outside.
Wayward pines with its steep cliffs, electrified fences and back looping road is like hotel California, where you can check-in anytime but you can never leave.
The best part of the novel is the way it plays with time, both literally and figuratively. The time play in the story accentuates the twists with pinpoint accuracy.
The only thing that I didn’t like is the speed with which the story turns from being inexplicable to sci-fi. The element of sci-fi was bound to come but I was enjoying the hard boiled noir scepticism too much for it to end so soon.
The inspiration behind this novel is the abruptly cancelled tv show of the 90’s, Twin Peaks. The abrupt cancellation of the tv show left author Blake Crouch disappointed. In his own words, “all art is a reaction to other art”. While Wayward Pines is not Twin Peaks, but fans of Twin Peaks, Lost and Harlan Coben’s novels would find this eerie mystery right up their alley.
I personally came across this novel while I was looking for good tv shows to watch and the plot of Wayward Pines (the tv show based on this novel) starring Matt Dillion as Ethan Burke looked so promising that I decided to read the book before the show and I am so glad that I did.