Guest Essay: "The Origin of Wayward Pines, Or How a Bullying, Small-Town Sheriff Inspired a Book Series and a Television Show" by Blake Crouch
On a February night in 2008, I was vacationing with my family in [city name hidden to protect the guilty], a remote town that sits high in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Enclosed by towering cliffs, the town is nestled in a valley dotted with pines and Victorian houses. Its Main Street defines charming. There’s a toy store, a general store, an opera house, a candy shop. Like Plato’s ideal of a town, it feels as if it should exist only on a postcard....Read the rest of this review at www.kindlepost.com.
In Pines (2012), Crouch introduced Wayward Pines, a town that fictional futurist David Pilcher created to preserve humankind, in danger of extinction in the face of devolved human “Abnormals” overrunning the planet. In 2013, Pilcher kidnapped the town’s residents and placed them in suspension pods, releasing them 1,800 years later. Behind a picket-fenced facade, Wayward Pines is surrounded by an electrified fence, and Pilcher controls townies with microchips and zero-tolerance regulations. Sheriff Ethan Burke is attempting to protect the townies from horrors on both sides of the fence by cooperating with Pilcher, but in the course of investigating a murder—the victim turns out to be Pilcher’s daughter—Burke’s veneer of cooperation cracks, and he struggles to execute a plan that will grant townies liberty without sacrificing their safety. Crouch successfully embeds political philosophy and a spot-on murder investigation into this dystopian blend of fantasy and thriller. While the novel lacks some of Pines’ stomach-churning suspense, its cliff-hanger ending promises truckloads of terrifying moments to come. --Christine Tran