I read this dreadful novel on advice from a friend. The synopsis appealed to me: Secret Service agent awakens next to a river, no wallet or phone, no idea how he got there or what’s happened over the past 48 hours. He tries to piece it together, but keeps discovering things that make no sense. Most reader comments on the Internet contain some variation of “The ending blew me away – I didn’t see THAT coming!” I suspect Blake Crouch, or whatever his name actually is, has a lot of logon accounts.
Pines is crap. It’s poorly written sentence-by-sentence, the plot is telegraphed, the cardboard cutout characters speak like, well, cardboard cutout s, and the psychological motivations are cribbed from a random week’s episodes of Days of Our Lives. The concept is Bourne Identity crossed with Twin Peaks. In execution, it’s Tom Clancy on LSD dictating to a monkey.
I hated this novel so much I never wrote about it. Now, I see that Fox has a new show called Wayward Pines. Of course Fox wanted this book – it’s set in a town ruled by a fascist oligarchy. The surprise twist at the end is that it’s all good! (Since it’s Fox, it won’t come as much of a surprise.) I missed that Crouch followed Pines with two sequels, which might have been his plan from the start. I barely made it through the first book; I can’t imagine going back for more. Of course, the TV show might be fine – adaptations often exceed their source material. The show’s star, Matt Dillon, even has experience with that: Dillon starred in Francis Coppola’s The Outsiders, based on S.E. Hinton’s novel. But although that novel wasn’t great, I’ll take it any day over Crouch.