How the Series "Twin Peaks" Inspired "Pines" by Blake Crouch
On April 8, 1990, the pilot episode of Mark Frost and David Lynch's iconic television series, Twin Peaks, aired on ABC, and for a moment, the mystery of Who Killed Laura Palmer? held America transfixed. I was twelve at the time, and I will never forget the feeling that took hold of me as I watched this quirky show about a creepy town with damn fine coffee and brilliant cherry pie, where nothing was as it seemed.
Twin Peaks was ultimately cancelled, the director and actors went on to do other things, but the undeniable magic present in those early episodes still haunts me two decades later.
They say all art—whether books, music, or visual—is a reaction to other art, and I believe that to be true. As good as Twin Peaks was, the nature of the show, in particular how abruptly and prematurely it ended, left me massively unsatisfied. Pines is the culmination of my efforts, now spanning twenty years, to create something that makes me feel the way Twin Peaks did. It's the story of Secret Service agent Ethan Burke, who comes to the scenic town of Wayward Pines, Idaho to locate and recover two federal agents who went missing one month earlier. But within minutes of his arrival, Ethan is involved in a violent accident. He wakes in a hospital, with no ID, no cell phone, and no briefcase. He soon begins to suspect that nothing in Wayward Pines is what it seems, and that he may not get out alive. With Pines, I tried to write the kind of what-the-hell-is-happening, paranoid thriller that I love to read, with an ending that will blow your socks off.
In no way am I suggesting that Pines is as good as Lynch's masterpiece, or even something that is likely to take you back to the feeling of that series. The show was so utterly its own thing that any attempt to recreate its aura would be inherently doomed to fail. But I feel the need to express how much Pines is inspired by Lynch's creation of a small town in the middle of nowhere—beautiful on the outside, but with a pitch-black underbelly.
Pines would never have come about, and I may never have become a writer, if my parents hadn't let me stay up late on Thursday nights, that spring of 1990, to watch a show the likes of which we will never see again.
So thanks, Mom and Dad. Thanks, Mr. Lynch and Mr. Frost. And, of course, the inimitable Agent Dale Cooper.
I hope you enjoyed my show.