While I am an avid “real” book reader, I am also a truly dedicated reader, and there are some times when carrying around a large book becomes difficult. So, this year for my birthday, I finally broke down and bought a Kindle. One of the perks of having Amazon Prime and a Kindle is that you can borrow some of the books for free. This is how I inadvertently ran across Pines, the first book in Blake Crouch’s series, The Wayward Pines. After I rented the book, I ended up buying both it and the second book in the series. These books were the first that I have come across in a long time where I wanted to just read the whole thing in one sitting. The pace is great and they keep you turning the pages and wanting more. Because, like the protagonist, you absolutely have to figure out what the heck is going on here.
Ethan Burke is a secret service agent who wakes up in the town of Wayward Pines, Idaho, with some serious amnesia. He had come to town to locate two federal agents that had gone missing. One of those agents was the woman with whom he had previously been having an affair. Ethan ends up wandering around town and trying to figure out a few things like, why he woke up in the middle of a park feeling like he’d been hit by a truck, where the heck his wallet is, why he can’t seem to reach anyone by phone, and, of course, what happened to the two federal agents. Most of this takes place between some less than fruitful encounters with hospital staff and the town sheriff. And, when Ethan finds the answers to all these questions, well, he is not happy.
The second book in the series, Wayward, is all about what happens after most of Ethan’s questions have been answered, and while it doesn’t have quite the same level of mystery surrounding the storyline, it is still spot on when it comes to pace. There is plenty of action and thrills, along with some horrific creatures that enjoy rending, tearing, and eating humans. The origins of these creatures is also one of the most interesting ideas that I have come across in awhile, and in plotting out where they come from Crouch has touched on an interesting, and scary, area. In this book, the element of survival becomes the key player as Ethan struggles to help the residents of the town fight off these creatures. Additionally, he has to confront the designs of an evil mastermind, who is, in best thriller tradition, completely bonkers.
These books are fun and scary reads! There also appears to be some fan fiction available for them through the Kindle Worlds program, and I was impressed to see that F. Paul Wilson is one of the authors who has contributed a short novella, Wayward Pines: The Widow Lindley. I have been eagerly awaiting the third book in this series, The Last Town, which will be available starting July 15, 2014. I have a pretty good idea what I will be doing that day.