Friday, 13 June 2014

Guest Book Review: Terry Hayes - I Am Pilgrim

Reviewed by Sandra Foy

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.

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback  

I am Pilgrim is Terry Hayes' first novel. Though he has worked as a screenwriter on major studio productions such as Mad Max 2.

The premise of the book is clever. The protagonist, Scott Murdoch/Pilgrim, worked at the top level of US government intelligence. He is brought back from retirement to search for a man who has plans to destroy America. Plans that in this day and age don't seem so far­fetched.

The story unfolds in a dingy hotel in New York where a woman is found murdered. Using this case Pilgrim is sent on a mission to Turkey to try to stop the deadly plot. The narrative takes us through the back story of not only Pilgrim but his adversary. We journey across continents stopping at Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Greece, France, Germany and turkey,where most of the action takes place.  The locations are well described and give a good sense of place.

The characters are well ­developed and Scott/Pilgrim is intelligent, good and human but above all duty­bound.

This is a big book and at 900 pages long it can look intimidating. It is anything but. It is a rollicking good read, the action never stops and although at times it can be complex, the short chapters pull you along and keep the pages turning.

The denouement, I thought, was very clever and not your usual 8 page shoot out between good guy and bad guy. All in all I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a fast­paced, action­packed novel.

I'd like to thank Dead Good Books for sending me a copy of this book and Sandra for reviewing it for the blog.  

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