Pines by Blake Crouch

There was darkness everywhere humans gathered. The way of the world.” 

This throwaway line in the first book of Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines trilogy could also serve as the series’ thesis: No matter where people commune, no matter their intentions or desires, enmity lurks. It’s just how we are as a species.

Pines explores this concept in a dream-like setting that will be familiar to anyone who has seen more than two minutes of Twin PeaksIn fact, Crouch has been very forward about Twin Peaks‘ influence on his own book trilogy: In the end matter of the book, he thanks his parents for letting him stay up late to watch the weird tv show, and that while the books aren’t on the creative level of the show, they are his homage. With that in mind, the focus of the books for me is atmosphere more than plot. While the story unfolding is tense and entertaining, the world itself is what I like.

The beginning of Pines is familiar – a law enforcement agent, Ethan Burke visits a sleepy, idyllic town to investigate an unexplained event. While the town has all the trappings of the American dream, something is deeply wrong. Complicating matters is the fact that Burke wakes up by a river having lost his memory – he isn’t quite sure who he is, let alone what precisely is happening in the town of Wayward Pines.

I’m not sure what exactly Twin Peaks/Alan Wake/Wayward Pines/Silent Hill/Fatal Frame genre should be called. It’s not quite horror, or mystery. Psychological literary dream thriller folk? In any event, if you like any of the books, shows, or video games mentioned above, consider giving Crouch’s books a read.

Even if you already watched the Fox tv series based on this series, I will say that the book is different enough that it is a different experience, more so than Game of Thrones.

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