Blake Crouch wraps up the WAYWARD PINES trilogy in The Last Town (2014). If you haven’t read the prior two books, Pines and Wayward, be warned that here there be spoilers, as well as monsters and a bloodbath.
David Pilcher was a visionary man, convinced that the town of Wayward Pines, Idaho would be a new Eden, a place where people could start over again. The sign outside of town even proclaims “WELCOME TO WAYWARD PINES — WHERE PARADISE IS HOME”! Though Pilcher was right in many ways, life there was far more difficult and dangerous than he foresaw. Between that and Pilcher’s mania for control, Wayward Pines has been more of a prison for its inhabitants, with terrible secrets that Pilcher and his crew are determined to keep from the townspeople, though it’s for their own good, he assures the new sheriff, Ethan Burke.
Pilcher’s mania for control and blind obedience have turned him from a visionary to a would-be god. When Ethan rebelled and broke the huge secret to the entire town at the end of Wayward, Pilcher flew into a rage and remotely opened the gates of the high, electrified fence that surrounds the town. Now the intelligent, deadly creatures — called aberrations or “abbies” — that live outside of the town have invaded en masse, slaughtering as many people as they can.
Do you remember those nightmares you used to have when you were a kid, where monsters were chasing you and you couldn’t get away (probably frozen in fear) and they just kept coming and coming? The Last Town is kind of like that. The prior books in the WAYWARD PINES series had a distinct element of horror along with the mystery and science fiction, but The Last Town ratchets up the horror element several notches. Most of the book is a series of nightmarish scenes, with hideous abbies chasing — and eating — the people living in Wayward Pines. The aftermath is interesting, but you have to wade through copious amounts of gore to get there. And it’s not just the abbies spreading death and destruction; Pilcher may be a megalomaniac with a God complex, but the balance of power is still with him and his loyal followers.
The Last Town ends with another twist. Conceptually I thought the final twist was a great idea, but it required a little too much suspension of disbelief (specifically, relating to the timeline and available technology) to really work for me. Rather like this whole WAYWARD PINES series, in fact. It’s an imaginative wild ride with some fascinating twists and turns, but several of the details and key plot points don’t make much sense on closer examination.
I hope some readers notice the link between the titles of my reviews of this trilogy. I had fun with them. :)
“What a nice surprise!”
Lol! I thought about trying to work in “They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast.”