A Blog A Day: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes – Review

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.

What I Thought:
This book will shit you up. I’m not even joking. There were definite moments when I was hesitant to turn the page, and I Am Pilgrim almost ended up in the freezer on numerous occasions.

The reason it’s so unnerving is that you could see the events depicted really happening. The terrorist attack that is planned is so ingenious that it could work in real life, so you will be silently thanking whatever security forces exist in the world for the work they are doing, as you read!

As a book, it’s a monster at over 600 pages, but each page is absolutely necessary to tell the story – there’s no waffle here, just edge-of-your-seat action and the background you need to explain why both good guy and bad guy are doing what they are doing. As modern spy/terrorism thrillers go, it’s pretty high on my must-read list!

Terry Hayes is an experienced journalist and has created a fantastic character and plot in this book – I have said before that I think that not all journalists can make the leap over to fiction, but Hayes does so effortlessly, with the dialogue feeling completely natural and drawing you deeper into the book.

I Am Pilgrim was originally released in 2014, so it’s been a long wait for a follow up. The Year of The Locust is due out sometime between this May and May 2018, with – hopefully – another Pilgrim book to follow soon. I’ll definitely be picking up all Terry Hayes’ future books.

Note: I was sent a copy of the book by the publisher for review purposes but all opinions are, as ever, my own.

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