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Is it better to know a secret or be kept in the dark? That’s one of the questions that might enter your mind as you read the second book in Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines trilogy.
Three weeks ago, Ethan Burke was a Secret Service agent sent to Wayward Pines to look for his partner. Now he’s the sheriff of the peaceful little town, and he’s one of the few who knows the secrets that are hidden to almost everybody else.
A murder, the first unsanctioned one that has ever happened in the town, has Ethan investigating his former partner in order to see if she’s changed enough over time to kill someone in cold blood. Before it’s over, Ethan discovers there are some secrets that even he didn’t know.
Crouch is a favorite author of mine, proving repeatedly that he can deliver edge-of-your-seat suspense. However, Pines, the first book in this series, somehow managed to slip by unnoticed. At first, I was concerned this would make Wayward (September 2013) less enjoyable, but that was not the case. While Wayward is the second book in a three-book arc, it’s also a complete story by itself. The first book revolves around Ethan’s arrival in town and the events that result in him becoming sheriff. Wayward provides enough information to let readers know the basics so they don’t feel lost.
The main character, Ethan, is a very well-defined character. As the story progresses, we learn his hopes and dreams and fears, and we feel for him when things don’t go his way. He’s the new guy in town, but he’s been allowed to know things that aren’t known by people that have been there for years. His wife and son are two of those people, which makes keeping secrets even harder.
Wayward is written in a way that lets you discover the town in a unique way. From the first page, you know things aren’t quite right (and that sense of wrongness only gets stronger as the story continues) but the face of the town still seems normal. Seeing the illusion, along with the hidden reality, introduced an interesting element that compels the reader to keep reading. You can’t help but want to solve the mystery of both Wayward Pines’ existence and the murder of the woman who also happens to be more than she appears to be.
The book does contain some scenes of violence but graphic descriptions are kept to a minimum. Crouch wants you on the edge because of the mystery; not for the gore.
One thing that might be a source of irritation for some readers at first is the seemingly unrelated secondary story that involves a nomad in the wilderness, but be patient because his importance is revealed toward the end and I suspect he’ll play a much larger role in the final book of the trilogy.
If you like mystery and suspense, with just a tiny sci-fi-style twist, you should make time to visit Wayward.
Reviewed by Marty Shaw
Crouch is a favorite author of mine, proving repeatedly that he can deliver edge-of-your-seat suspense. Click To Tweet
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