I have just finished reading one of the best books ever. I plowed through its almost 800 pages quite quickly, because it was very difficult to put down. Yep, one of those. Don't start it until you can dedicate a block of time to it. A while back a friend asked me what I've been reading lately, and then she said "What's your favourite book of all time?" Now that's not an easy question to answer, and in fact at the time, I couldn't answer her. I replied "I'll ponder that and get back to you." I'm still not sure if I could pick just ONE most favourite (That's kinda like which one is your favourite child? Impossible to answer...) but Margie, this one would certainly be in the running: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes.
It's not my usual genre, and maybe that's one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much... it was something different. I guess I would call it a cross of murder mystery with suspense thriller, with the accent on the suspense thriller.. lol.
I don't want to give away too much of the story, but the two main characters are an American (codename Pilgrim) who works for an unknown covert US government agency higher than the FBI or CIA and a young terrorist from Saudi Arabia. Hayes takes us on a whirlwind journey, from New York City where the story begins with a murder, to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Paris, Syria, Gaza, and Turkey as Pilgrim races to solve a perfect crime and foil his adversary's plot to bring down the USA.
From the book jacket: "A breakneck race against time.. and an implacable enemy.
An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid.
A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square.
A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard.
Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan.
A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.
One path links them all, and only one man can make the journey. Pilgrim."
Of course, these seemingly unconnected events all eventually come together in a fast-paced, action-packed, well organized, well researched and very cleverly written plot. The reader cannot fly through the text as there are many details to be noted. Just when you think you have something figured out, things take an unpredictable turn... Foreshadowing is used effectively and the characters are so very well developed. Both Pilgrim and his "prey" are extremely intelligent and you keep wondering which one will outsmart the other. In short, an amazing read! Warning, there are some scenes of graphic violence.
Hayes has already had a successful career as a journalist and a movie and tv screenwriter. I Am Pilgrim is his debut novel. I can only say I hope he continues writing novels, I will be at the head of the line to purchase his next one. MGM has secured the movie rights to I Am Pilgrim. I'll be in that lineup too.
"Good books don't give up all their secrets at once." ~ Stephen King