Review: The Last Town, by Blake Crouch

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About The Last Town

Welcome to Wayward Pines, the last town.

Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrived in Wayward Pines, Idaho, three weeks ago. In this town, people are told who to marry, where to live, where to work. Their children are taught that David Pilcher, the town’s creator, is god. No one is allowed to leave; even asking questions can get you killed.

But Ethan has discovered the astonishing secret of what lies beyond the electrified fence that surrounds Wayward Pines and protects it from the terrifying world beyond. It is a secret that has the entire population completely under the control of a madman and his army of followers, a secret that is about to come storming through the fence to wipe out this last, fragile remnant of humanity.

Blake Crouch’s electrifying conclusion to the Wayward Pines Series—now a Major Television Event Series debuting Winter 2015 on FOX—will have you glued to the page right down to the very last word.


About the Author

Blake Crouch is the author of over a dozen bestselling suspense, mystery, and horror novels. His short fiction has appeared in numerous short story anthologies, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Cemetery Dance, and many other publications. Much of his work, including the Wayward Pines Series, has been optioned for TV and film. Blake lives in Colorado. To learn more, follow him on Twitter or Facebook, or visit his website, www.blakecrouch.com.


My Thoughts

The Last Town is the third, and presumably last, in Blake Crouch's Wayward Pines series. While Crouch attempts to make this work accessible to new readers, I'd advise that anyone new to this series start from the beginning and read Pines and Wayward first. And since The Last Town picks up within moments of its predecessors finale, it's hard to get into the nitty-gritty without talking about some spoilers for the previous books.

Consider this your warning.

Those familiar with the series will recall that Secret Service agent Ethan Burke woke up in the small community of Wayward Pines after getting into a car accident. He was sent to the town to search for a pair of missing agents, but it doesn't take too long for things to go south and for his entire world to get turned upside down. At the close of the second novel, Wayward, Burke clued in the other residents about the truth behind their idyllic community, and in a fit of rage and hubris, the town-founder/cult-leader, David Pilcher, opened the doors sealing Wayward Pines off from the rest of the big, bad world.

With the threat of the monstrous aberrations unleashed upon the town the stakes have never been higher. Series regulars will know that Wayward Pines represents the last human outpost, home to scarcely more than 400 souls, and the danger posed by the beastly abbies represent an extinction-level threat.

Almost from the first page of The Last Town, Crouch has built an unrelenting horror story that strikes a different chord than either of the previous volumes. In the end, I think that's one of the strongest aspects of his series and why I appreciate Wayward Pines so much. With each volume, Crouch does something different genre-wise.

Pines was a paranoia-driven conspiracy thriller, in the vein of television series like The Prisoner and Nowhere Man. Wayward was more of a murder mystery, but framed within the elements of the conspiracy that unraveled during the climax of Pines. The Last Town, meanwhile, is heavily geared toward a fast-paced creature feature, and Crouch revels in the horror of the narrative as the abbies roam through town, disemboweling people in the streets and invading homes to tear apart the town's citizens.

If mysteries were at the center of the previous narratives, then here the focus is squarely on action and keeping the pages turning. Short chapters keep the pace quick and the tension high, and the unrelenting nature of the opposition Burke faces, in both human and animal form, make for a blistering read.

The Last Town is a hard book to put down, and because the predicament the characters suffer their way through is so severe and urgent, readers will be demanding to know what comes next. Crouch has crafted a book that is truly 'unputdownable' and it serves as a fitting, satisfying conclusion to the Wayward Pines series.

Note: I received an advanced reader's copy through NetGalley to review.

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Michael Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.


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