Book Review: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
June 7, 2014 16 Comments
I Am Pilgrim: What it is about
From the publishers: “Can you commit the perfect crime?
Pilgrim is the codename for a man who doesn’t exist. The adopted son of a wealthy American family, he once headed up a secret espionage unit for US intelligence. Before he disappeared into anonymous retirement, he wrote the definitive book on forensic criminal investigation.
But that book will come back to haunt him. It will help NYPD detective Ben Bradley track him down. And it will take him to a rundown New York hotel room where the body of a woman is found facedown in a bath of acid, her features erased, her teeth missing, her fingerprints gone. It is a textbook murder – and Pilgrim wrote the book.
What begins as an unusual and challenging investigation will become a terrifying race-against-time to save America from oblivion. Pilgrim will have to make a journey from a public beheading in Mecca to a deserted ruins on the Turkish coast via a Nazi death camp in Alsace and the barren wilderness of the Hindu Kush in search of the faceless man who would commit an appalling act of mass murder in the name of his God.“
I Am Pilgrim: What I thought
This book has been recommended by many, hyped, if you like, so I thought I had to read it. It’s strange, because I don’t often think I have to read a hyped-up book. So, there was something about I Am Pilgrim that attracted me. Well, after 50 pages I asked my friends, “Really?” They said, “Keep going.” At page 200 I was still not convinced and only around page 250 did it start to pick up. I mean, some books are only 250 pages long!
What I did like in the first third of the book was the way the different story lines were told. Very clever and adventurous. What I didn’t like was that these story lines felt like huge distractions from the main story. I was promised a story about a murder in a New York hotel (as per the first chapter). What I got were stories about Russian spies and Saudi terrorists.
While these were fine stories, they didn’t add much or anything to the story I was hoping to get. So, it took a while before the main story really got going. And then it was a very interesting story, again very clever and adventurous, with towards the end an amount of James Bond-ishness that was a little over the top for me.
Lots happens, things mentioned 500 pages ago come back near the end, so it all fits together very nicely. If you can handle stories-within-the-story and are happy to sit tight for the long haul, you might very well enjoy this book.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (Good)
Number of pages: 756 (ebook)
First published: 2014
I got this: from the publishers, Transworld, for review via Netgalley (ebook)