I haven’t done a book review in a while because over the past few months I have been devouring the 700 page powerhouse of a debut novel that is I Am Pilgrim. This is Terry Hayes first novel however he was the screen writer behind movie thrillers such as Mad Max 2 and Dead Calm, so I already knew he had it in him to create a real nail biter of a story and he certainly delivers in that area.
The main character is Pilgrim (although this is not his real name) and the story is set up by two events – a murder in a hotel room in New York – a woman whose been bathed in acid to remove any trace marks of who she was and in Saudi Arabia, a young boy witnesses his father getting beheaded for disparaging the Royal Family – this boy becomes the Sacrean throughout the story.
At first you wonder how both of these stories will intertwine to become one, and sure enough they do in a unique and clever way. The book itself deals with terrorism and the creation of a terrorist act that genuinely sent shivers down my spine. The book switches between stories and by the time this ramps up at the end, you are so eager for Pilgrim and the Sacrean to meet – the tension is unbearable.
I will say that this book is a slow burn, I would say at least 50% of the book is setting up for the page turning, gripping climax but please don’t let that put you off. The writing is descriptive and the interactions between characters feel real and raw at times, especially as Pilgrim is dealing with past family issues and memories.
The twists in this book are great, and it may have taken me over a month to get 50% of the way through, as the plot thickened and the twists kept coming, I ended up devouring the second half in just 4 days. I was also super satisfied with the ending – there is nothing more disappointing than an unfinished ending but I felt this book did itself proud and left it as it should have.
Overall – if you are a fan of thrillers which have a crime, secret agent type vibe I can’t recommend this to you enough – it would be a great summer beach read – although I would advise buying in on kindle as it is a pretty chunky read!
Until next time