“Pines” by Blake Crouch – slow, frustrating, dark and ultimately pointless journey to the edge of sanity

PinesI bought this book because it was being hyped (and reduced in price) by audible and Fox have made a series from it called “Wayward Pines” so, why not?

“Pines” is competently written and well narrated. It just didn’t do it for me.

Other than being persistent, dangerous and extraordinarily tough to kill, the main character is not very interesting. I really didn’t care what happened to him.

The town of Wayward Pines is spooky and the “What the hell is going on here?” question kept me moving through the chapters.

The more I read, the more violent and depressing the whole thing became.

I’ve seen “Pines” compared to “Twin Peaks”. I don’t think the comparison stands. In the end, “Twin Peaks” was a series of cool scenes that made no sense. “The owls are not what they seem” – who cares? “Pines” does make sense. There is a compelling, if somewhat far-fetched, premise that explains everything.

The problem I had was that, while the premise explained everything, it justified nothing: not the actions of the main villain, certainly not the actions of the delightful citizens of Wayward Pines, not even the ultimately pointless struggle of the main character. This is not one of those occasions where the truth will set you free. I found the whole thing anticlimactic.

I could have lived with that, except that Blake Crouch put me through scenes of extreme violence and cruelty to get me to this, for me, unsatisfactory outcome. Crouch writes well enough that I will remember those scenes, even though, in retrospect, I understand them as exploitative.

Still, he’s not to blame for me reading the scenes, nor how I reacted to them.

There are two more books in the series. Someone must love them. Probably the same people who enjoyed “Prison Break” and “The Sopranos”.

If you’re still interested, here’s the trailer for the TV series. Looks like a good cast and a great director. Just won’t be on my “must watch that” list.

You can listen to an extract from the audiobook by clicking on the SoundCloud link below.






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