The Last Town
By Blake Crouch
I spoil shamelessly, so if you want to preserve the mystery then save this review till post consumption.
I went off on a Blake Crouch binge, bought all the Wayward Pines books (Pines, Wayward, now the Last Town), the standalone Dark Matter, and Abandoned (neither finished nor reviewed). I guess he hit a nerve.
The third book was not the strongest of the three in terms of story. Indeed, there is very little story at all. It is all action. If you like action, you won’t be disappointed. The previous book, Wayward, ended with the evil 007-level evil genius opening the gates of the small town of 400 souls to the outside world. This world is infested with “abbies,” abnormal devolved humans who can take down bears in one-on-one combat. Yay! Now there’s a cliffhanger for you. Ethan Burke’s (our hero) wife had an “affair” with Ethan’s former boss, who traveled 2000 years into the future to be with her. He’s outside the wall, and on his way back. Talk about tension there, too, right? And, if that’s not enough. Ethan has found evidence that the evil genius is not only a murderer, but he actually murdered his own daughter, who is beloved among virtually every remaining human on the earth.
I’m panting just writing it.
Mr. Crouch takes us right into the action, not wasting time with catching us up. There’s a lot of fighting, a lot of dying, a lot of confronting. And, it is all basically what you would want. Honestly, that was a little disappointing. The love triangle between Ethan’s old boss (Hassler) his wife and him was concluded quickly, and ordinarily. In the end, Hassler, it turns out, really did love Ethan’s wife more than Ethan did. OK. Also, there was another love triangle that should have been more dramatic, the one between Ethan and his wife and Ethans old lover (Kate). That one just ended. Not only that, but Hassler and Kate kind of get together in the end. A little too pat.
The best part of the book was the ending. I suppose I should have thought it through a little more. Maybe I could have figured out the twist ending if I’d put some effort into it. But I didn’t, and I was pleasantly surprised. Crouch did a good job of leading the reader to a certain conclusion (that the survivors would travel south to better weather), but they didn’t, because they would have died out in a couple of generations, even if they did survive the trip through abbie infested waters. Instead, they got back in their one-way time machines, and slept into the future. I was pleasantly surprised.
Like I said before, not much plot here, only action. The action was good, and didn’t disappoint. The mad scientist got his comeuppance, which didn’t disappoint. The ending was good, and didn’t disappoint. So it was a good conclusion to a good series. I wanted to say more than it didn’t disappoint, but hey, not disappointment and good ending ain’t bad.