Book Review – The Wayward Pines Trilogy by Blake Crouch

Click above to see these books on Amazon

I cruise around on Amazon quite a bit looking for new books and new authors.  I read 3-4 books at a time so I am always kind of on the lookout.  I like to spend time looking in the pages of the genres that I like.
While searching through horror and thrillers, I kept coming across an author named Blake Crouch.  Particularly, I kept seeing his series Wayward Pines.  Finally, I decided to check them out.
And I’m real glad that I did.
It’s hard to talk about the whole series too much without giving away the end of the first book, so this may be brief and I’ll be real careful.
The story follows Ethan Burke, a secret service agent who goes to a town called Wayward Pines, ID to search for his missing former partner.  When he gets there, he realizes that something isn’t right.  The people in the town are very strange.  He can’t get in touch with his wife.  And he can’t leave.  
Once the story gets going, it keeps you on the edge of your seat.  I couldn’t put it down.  I pretty much put the other books aside that I was reading and finished these in about 2-3 weeks.
I read and listened to the books using Amazon Whispersync which is a really cool feature.  
From a writing standpoint, I really like Blake Crouch.  One of the things I like that he does is that he uses sentence fragments in a very smart way to show you what characters are doing.  For example, instead of saying something like:  “She went to the kitchen, made herself some scrambled eggs, then sat down for a glass of wine.”,  He would write it like: “She went to the kitchen.  Made some eggs.  Enjoyed a glass of wine.”  I really like this and have started using it in my writing some.  
One thing I don’t like, and I have noticed it while reading one of his other books, is that his dialogue can be kind of weak.  His story telling is so good and flows so well, but sometimes I think the dialogue can be a little unrealistic.  In specific with female characters.  One particular problem I had was that I thought Teresa, Ethan’s wife in the books, came off very weak in the last book.  She came off like a scared teenager when I feel like a mother would be a little stronger in the situations she was in.  I thought that he also made his son come off a little too ignorant.  In Crouch’s defense, I did listen almost exclusively to the last book and I may have had more of an issue with how the narrator portrayed the two characters.  But again, I have noticed this in other works.
That being said, the series is incredible.  I would highly recommend it for anyone who loves heavily character driven horror, suspense thrillers.  The end of the first book will throw you for a loop and you’ll want to jump right to the second book.
Oh, and if you read the book before the first of the year, you can be ahead of the curve once the mini series based on the book comes out!  See the trailer below.  It has a very good cast.
Rating – 8/10

Only the Perspective is Unique

Since I was probably 10 years old I have loved writing.

For years I have wanted to write a book.  I started and stopped a few novels.  Never committing the time because of various excuses:
No one will read this.
How will I find an audience?
How can I even publish this?
This is really hard!

Yup.  I made a lot of excuses.

I finally realized my dream when I self-published my first book last year.  The book is entitled I Once Was Fat But Now I See… and is part memoir and part weight loss guide.  It chronicles strategies I used to lose 115 pounds in about 15 months.  It is still surreal to this day.  I actually finished a book.  Not the book I ever thought that I would write as I spent most my life over weight, but I finished and the book has done really well and helped a lot of people.

So let’s fast-forward to now.

A little over a month ago I decided that I wanted to finally start and finish a novel.  Some other things in my life have shifted that has given me a little more time to finally put some work into doing something I have always loved and always wanted to do.

I began jotting down many different “What if?” scenarios to come up with an idea to write about.  As I started to come up with ideas, I quickly realized that I could easily compare the idea to a similar movie or book.  This was further shown to me when I would mention an idea to my wife or a friend and they would give the ole “Oh yeah, that’s kinda like…..”.

At first, this was frustrating.  I wanted to come up with an original idea that no one has done.

Then a couple of things happened.

For one, I have been listening to a lot of podcasts and reading a lot of writer blogs.  I started to hear and read different writers say “no idea is truly original”.  I took note but knew I could still come up with something new and fresh to write.

Then, I heard an interview with Hugh Howey, the uber popular self-published author of the epic post-apocalyptic saga Wool.  When I heard the premise of the novel and then read the description, I was shocked.  The book was almost exactly like a novel that I had previously started a couple of years ago.  For the record, I am now reading the book and am thoroughly enjoying it.

So what does all this mean and what have I learned?

Every idea has been done.  But you haven’t done every idea.

What I mean is that your perspective it unique.  If you gave two different writers the idea “What if someone could go back and stop the JFK assassination?” and asked them to write a novel, you would get two completely different stories.  By the way, if you are thinking of writing that book, it is the premise of Stephen King’s 11/22/63 which is an incredible read.

So, if you have an idea, write it!  Your perspective will make it unique.  Your characters will make it unique.  We all have a different story within us.  So don’t be intimidated by thinking that you are copying another idea.