”Since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve treated our world like it was a hotel room and we were rock stars. But we aren’t rock stars. In the scheme of evolutionary forces, we are a weak, fragile species. Our genome is corruptible, and we so abused this planet that we ultimately corrupted that precious DNA blueprint that makes us human.”
Ethan Burke was sent to Wayward Pines, Idaho, to find two missing secret service agents. One of them was his old partner and for a brief time his lover. Going after Kate does complicate things, putting more stress on his fragile relationship with his wife Theresa and his son Ben. Enroute he is in a “car accident” which kills the agent that was sent with him and lands him in the hospital.
He has memory issues.
Burke escapes from the hospital, which was starting to feel more like a prison, and wanders around the town. There is a distinct “you aren’t from around” here vibe coming from the inhabitants of this town. A Children of the Corn creepiness that is hard to ignore. He meets a friendly bartender who gives him her address in case he needs a place to stay. It is hard to even buy a cup of coffee without his wallet which has mysteriously disappeared. Later when he does decide to take her up on her offer, he finds out it isn’t her home.
”He hadn’t heard the flies until now, because they had congregated inside the man’s mouth--a metropolis of them, the sound of their collective buzzing like a small outboard motor.”
Ethan had found Agent Evans.
By this time it doesn’t surprise Ethan that Sheriff Pope acts strange. Everyone in this town acts scared, acts peculiar. They act like people do when something is very, very wrong. The phones don’t work, and then when they do, he gets the voicemail of his wife. She never calls him back. He tries to check into work and gets this person that is about as helpful as a tree of feces throwing monkeys.
He decides to steal a car and leave town.
Every road out of town brings you back to Wayward Pines. When he goes into the woods to explore, he finds a large electrified fence encircling the town. He hears:
”The scream could only be compared to human suffering or terror. Like a hyena or a banshee. Coyotes at their maddest. The mythologized Rebel Yell. High and thin. Fragile. Terrible. And on some level, humming under the surface liked buried electrical cables, was a dim awareness that this wasn’t the first time he’d heard it.
Again, the scream.”
He finds Kate, but not the Kate he was expecting.
He finds Kate who is fifteen years older than when he last saw her a few weeks ago. She is married to a man named Harold. He can’t believe what he sees.
”Are you losing your mind?
You tell me.
Because I am you.”
Kate is cryptic, but tells him that he is not crazy. Something he desperately needs to hear given the fact that absolutely nothing has made sense in this town since he woke up in a hospital bed.
There are cameras and microphones everywhere. He finds a box that makes the soothing, normal sounds of crickets.
In the immortal words of Kevin Bacon in the movie Tremors:
”What the hell is going on? I mean what the hell is going on.”
There is a big twist, and I am not going to talk about the BIG TWIST because some of you might want to read the book or watch the excellent TV series by M. Night Schyamalan. The series was must see TV for my family every Thursday night. The casting was excellent with Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Shannyn Sossamon (I was really glad to see her. I haven’t seen much of her since she starred in the double movies with Heath Ledger:Knight’s Tale and The Order.), and Toby Jones as the creepy David Pilcher. I watched the series before reading the book. There are differences for sure. There were a couple of scenes in the book that I found more compelling than the ones in the series, but for the most part the series outperforms the book.
It is not really a fair comparison because the series covered what I think are all three books in the trilogy. This first book ends at about maybe three episodes into the series. Normally, I will read the book before watching a TV adaptation or a movie, but in this case the series kind of snuck up on me. Not hard to do with my face in a book all the time. :-) I plan to read the rest of the Pines series mainly because I’m interesting in where Schyamalan deviates from Blake Crouch. For instance, in the book Ethan is having flashbacks to the war and the torture he experienced while captured. That was left out of the TV series. I thought it was a good decision.
This series is an ode to Twin Peaks. Crouch remembers vividly the impact that TV show had on him in his pre-teen years. When it was cancelled, he was so distraught that he wrote a season three. I hope he is excited about the return of Twin Peaks which I believe is slated for 2016. There are certainly Twin Peakselements to this series, enhanced by a really good twist. David Lynch’s inspiring series created a writer out of Blake Crouch. I can only hope that the Wayward Pines series sparks a dormant creative gene in some other pre-teen who will grow up to write an ode to Wayward Pines.
If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visithttp://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten