The world of young adult fiction is pretty hot for dystopian storylines right now, and author James Dashner has definitely found a comfortable niche in that world. With shades of The Hunger Games and Divergent, The Maze Runner series features an adolescent cast of boys fighting for survival after the world has been destroyed by solar flares. There’s danger, violence, and just a little cannibalism, but the series is still decidedly geared towards young adults. His other series, The Mortality Doctrine, inspired by Dashner’s favorite movies The Matrix and Inception, is also aimed at teenaged readers.
Kaya Scoldelario and Dylan O’Brien in Maze Runner / Via Den of Geek
But Dashner is apparently ready for something new.
Set to be released by Ballantine Books in January 2018, The Waking marks Dashner’s first foray out of the young adult genre and into darker territory. Inspired partly by the true story of South Carolina serial killer Donald “Pee Wee” Gaskins, The Waking tells the story widower and father of four, David Player. The story bounces back and forth between the present day and David’s childhood as a series of killings spark up that are eerily reminiscent of a similar string of murders that happened when David was a boy.
With an unknown number of victims, “Pee Wee” Gaskins holds the distinction of being South Carolina’s most prolific serial killer. His crimes lead him to the electric chair in 1991, but prior to his death he collaborated with author Wilton Earl in writing his autobiography, Final Truth, which was published in 1993. If Gaskins is the inspiration for Dashner’s debut adult novel, it has the potential to be chillingly dark.
So to all of the James Dashner fans out there, you have been warned. The Waking isn’t going to be as teenager-friendly as his other books. But if “Pee Wee” Gaskins serves as the inspiration, it’s going to be a thrilling ride for his more mature readers.
Featured Image Via JamesDashner.com