“Pines” by Blake Crouch is a thrilling work of fiction. You will be hooked from page one.
Ethan Burke, the main character, is a man on a mission. The story begins with his waking up in a place called Wayward Pines. It is an idyllic setting: beautiful Victorian houses surrounded by gorgeous park and grass fields, majestic cliffs and a crystal, rolling river. But he is badly hurt. And he discovers that he has no wallet, no money clip, no ID, no keys, no phone. He only finds a Swiss Army knife in one of his pockets.
Burke gradually starts to remember: He is a Secret Service agent who came here to search for two other agents. But as he learns what happened to them—and to him—he discovers that Wayward Pines is not as pretty on the inside as the outside. And as he tries to find reasons for things around him that don’t add up, he senses that he’s heading for trouble.
The man is built for action; he has superhero endurance. Burke was a Black Hawk helicopter pilot in the second Gulf War. Later he joined the Secret Service. He has incredible stamina, an excellent arm, impeccable aim and he can ignore pain and extreme thirst and hunger if it means getting out of danger. He can take on and take down pretty much any enemy, even as fear rushes through him.
The story is mainly about Burke, but it does touch on his wife, Theresa, and their son, Ben. Burke longs for them, remorseful of his mistakes as a husband and father. He also has nightmares about his time as a prisoner of war, being tortured by a man called Aashif; his emotional shortfalls seem to stem from when he was a soldier.
This book is a successful cross between “The Bourne Legacy,” “The Stepford Wives” and “Planet of the Apes.” The ending, with all its wild explanations, makes sense. The narrative is non-stop engaging action with twists and turns the entire way. This book would make a fun movie; you will enjoy all of “Pines,” from beginning to end.