I Am Pilgrim
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.'

I Am Pilgrim Details

TitleI Am Pilgrim
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 27th, 2014
PublisherAtria/Emily Bestler Books
ISBN-139781439177723
Rating
GenreThriller, Fiction, Mystery, Crime, Mystery Thriller

I Am Pilgrim Review

  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, I just can't do it. I cannot go any further.I am giving up around the halfway point - which is arguably very generous for a 600-page book - because I'm just getting more and more irritated. I picked up I Am Pilgrim after seeing it on Goodreads' 16 Underrated Books That Deserve Your Attention post, and thinking that it was about time I found myself a fast-paced thriller.And it starts fairly well, I'll give it that. The novel is broken up into "parts", each dealing with a different part of Okay, I just can't do it. I cannot go any further.I am giving up around the halfway point - which is arguably very generous for a 600-page book - because I'm just getting more and more irritated. I picked up I Am Pilgrim after seeing it on Goodreads' 16 Underrated Books That Deserve Your Attention post, and thinking that it was about time I found myself a fast-paced thriller.And it starts fairly well, I'll give it that. The novel is broken up into "parts", each dealing with a different part of Pilgrim's life - as an Intelligence agent, an assassin, a criminal investigator, etc. - and the first part is quite exciting. It opens with a grisly murder, seemingly sexual in nature, with the victim dissolving in acid in the bathtub. The scene is so lacking in evidence that it looks like we got a badass on our hands.Come on... murder, sex, perfect crimes - who wouldn't be interested at this point? The bestest, baddest super spy of them all - the so-called "Pilgrim" - seems a little generic and lacking in characterization beyond the repeated affirmations by everyone that he really is THE BEST at everything, but that's okay. This book has over six hundred pages; surely he will develop a personality in time.He doesn't. The few times the author attempts to connect us with his protagonist are over the most obvious universal sentiments - by that I mean he is sad for the people who were tortured and starved during the Holocaust, and angry because of 9/11. Oh wow, so that makes him like... almost everyone else.Also, it seems strange that his narrative "voice" changes significantly in each part, depending on whether he is being sad for the war victims or delivering a diatribe against the crazy Muslims. I felt like I was reading stories told from the perspective of different characters. AND it's all tell, tell, tell. He is the best in the world. This super badass former Intelligence Officer who knows everything… or so we keep being told. In action, he acts like an idiot for the most part, makes stupid mistakes, is somehow allowed to publish a book about his time as a secret agent (wtf?), and then spends his life running from all the readers who want to hunt him down.Every single woman he meets is beautiful beyond belief, and I lost count of how many times we had to hear descriptions of the various curves, boobs, legs and heels wandering around. I'm not even looking at this as a feminist critique - political issues aside, frankly, it's boring. And yes, I absolutely would feel the same way if someone was constantly describing all the gorgeous men with rippling muscles.Yet, this didn't stop me from reading. Nope, it was something else. These things are, in fact, all minor criticisms compared to the raging Islamophobia. It honestly made me very uncomfortable. I know that authors are not their characters, but I swear I could feel Hayes' disdain for the Saudi culture and people dripping onto the pages. Now, I'll admit it: I don't think Saudi practices should be beyond criticism. I don't agree with their laws limiting women's rights, and the government is guilty of many human rights abuses. BUT Pilgrim's self-righteous superiority as he marches through this Muslim country is embarrassing. Despite its huge wealth, vast oil reserves, and love of high-tech American armaments, nothing really works in Saudi Arabia.The driver thought I was crazy - but then his religion thinks stoning a woman to death for adultery is reasonable, so I figured we were about even. This whole book is about a white American milking 9/11 as an excuse to defeat the crazy Muslims. It perpetuates the notion that Muslims hate America, and that Saudis are lecherous pervs who lust after white women. And, by the way, that last quote there just bugs the hell out of me. I'm a British atheist and I have no religious affiliation, but someone needs to say it: the Christian Bible also thinks adulterers should be put to death!"If a man commits adultery with another man's wife both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death." (Leviticus 20:10)AND, if we're being nitpicky, the Qu'ran doesn't sentence adulterers to death, it sentences them to a flogging. The Hadiths, however, is the text that sentences adulterers to death BUT it does not distinguish between male and female adulterers.When an unmarried male commits adultery with an unmarried female, they should receive one hundred lashes and banishment for one year. And in case of married male committing adultery with a married female, they shall receive one hundred lashes and be stoned to death.— Sahih Muslim, 17:4191I read on for another couple hundred pages after the Islamophobia started because I wanted to give the book a chance to redeem itself. But it didn't. The story literally is about an amazing American agent defeating the Muslims. It's cringy. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Store
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  • Audrey
    January 1, 1970
    I had to make myself wait several weeks after reading this to write a review so that I could sufficiently calm down. I could write numerous scathing pages filled with my favorite quotes but I'll try to keep this short and angry. I was promised an awesome summer read. I didn't realize that "summer" has become a euphemism for "insulting to intelligence" and "poorly written trash." But, now I know. And don't tell me "well that's the thriller genre" because no, it's not. There are a ton of well I had to make myself wait several weeks after reading this to write a review so that I could sufficiently calm down. I could write numerous scathing pages filled with my favorite quotes but I'll try to keep this short and angry. I was promised an awesome summer read. I didn't realize that "summer" has become a euphemism for "insulting to intelligence" and "poorly written trash." But, now I know. And don't tell me "well that's the thriller genre" because no, it's not. There are a ton of well written ones out there. But I've decided to turn this terrible experience into a positive thing for everyone. Instead of telling you all everything wrong with this book, I'm just going to give you a few tips on how to write a better book than this:1)If you are going to call your book a thriller, don't spend the first 300 pages in pedantic flashbacks to memories of unimportant childhood happenings and wait til the last maybe 150 pages for things to start to get quasi-exciting. 2) For the love-of-god, pick a narrative voice and stick with it. And if you don't, make sure its done well and done for a reason. Oh, and my-main-character-is-too-boring is not a legit reason. 3) Don't introduce every character with a description of their specific anatomical features. Much as I appreciate it when every male character has a scar, when I find myself asking "oh, I wonder what body part on this fellow is maimed?" you probably need to try something else. I also don't need to know about the tits, curvy mouths, slim hips, mini skirts, 6-inch heels and gaping blouses that every. female. character has. I terrified my husband by throwing this book at the wall halfway through and screaming "no more *&^%%$ high cheekbones!" which apparently is a must for every woman in Terry Hayes' fantasy world. 4)If you are going to claim your character is the most bad-ass super spy ever(who also went to Harvard) don't put him in situation after situation in which he shows himself to be the worst intelligence agent in history. Like when he robs a bank for useless records (because in this high-tech age super-spies don't computer?), or goes to the FBI for a contact because he knows fewer (actually he knows none at all?) hackers/tech people in the intelligence community than the FBI director...despite the fact you were station agent in the UK???(How is that possible?) Oh, and please write the obligatory ops, hits, and covert happenings with a little thought. And by that I mean just make them more planned, controlled, discrete and realistic than a preschool class on crank. 5) Make your protagonist a little interesting. Just a little. If you actually have to use the Holocaust, Bosnian genocide, 9/11 and numerous other atrocities by telling us how your protagonist FEELS about them to garner empathy, you're doing it wrong. See-my-character-hates-genocide-just-like-you is pretty much the lowest point of human relatability possible. 6) "Well golly I need a villain don't I? I don't really have time to be original because I'm writing about cheekbones and stiletto heels, so let's just make him a Muslim who decides he hates 'Merica because his dad died...at the hand of other Muslims. Every body hates Muslims. They are all angry and irrational. And that way I can make sweeping bigoted remarks like 'The driver thought I was crazy--but then his religion thinks stoning a woman to death for adultery is reasonable' and no one will care! Win-'effing-win!"7) If you are going to put me through this many pages, please don't introduce characters and story-lines that contribute zero to the story (Bradley). Oh wait, but you do need him because you need a guy that our hero passes super-secret cryptic phone messages ("Our mutual friend will understand") to because he can't call his handler (oh yeah ya'll, his handler is the director of intelligence and POTUS. This agent don't play) in the white house directly. 'cept for all those times when he delivers the message to you, and then calls the white house directly anyways. 8) Complex Sentences are highly recommended. "It was sad, really" doesn't count. And if I read one. more. book. that uses the words "the gathering dark", I will burn down the internet....just stop it!So, basically start there and you should have a book a hundred times better than this one. Save yourself from this "summer" reading.
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  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    So you're the top agent in a US government spy agency, more secret than the most secret, secret agency that even The President has heard of. If he has. Which is unlikely, as if he had, he'd now be dead. Assassinated in a way that the people would never suspect. That's how good, and secret, you are. However, despite being the top agent, you decide to get out of the trade. You know you will be a marked man, and therefore you have to disappear. But, before you do, you decide to write a book about So you're the top agent in a US government spy agency, more secret than the most secret, secret agency that even The President has heard of. If he has. Which is unlikely, as if he had, he'd now be dead. Assassinated in a way that the people would never suspect. That's how good, and secret, you are. However, despite being the top agent, you decide to get out of the trade. You know you will be a marked man, and therefore you have to disappear. But, before you do, you decide to write a book about your exploits which, despite the secrecy of it all, the government allows to be published. You then disappear. Except that you don't, because somebody tracks you down due to a glaring clue you left about your identity in that stupid book. When he finally finds you, you kill him instantly. Sorry, wait a minute, you don't. You befriend him instead because he's a Great American Hero. You now have to really wipe out your past history, so you visit the government who happily oblige. Just as well, because there's a Middle Eastern terrorist heading to The Promised Land (America, of course) to cause carnage not seen since 9/11. Which, incidentally makes you weep every time you think about it. All those innocent people. Heroes. Unlike all the foreign scum you have killed over the years who deserved all they got because they're not American.I'm halfway through this garbage and am determined to persevere just to see how much worse it can get.
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  • Anthony Dalton
    January 1, 1970
    WOW!!! Sometimes one gets really lucky, you pick up a book and think it might be an OK read, then you complete 5 or 6 chapters and come to the realisation you've stumbled across one of the top five reads of your life.. Such is the case with 'I Am Pilgrim'. As far as spy thrillers go, this is hands down the best, relegates the likes of Clancy, Ludlum and LeCarre (as good as they are) into the also ran section. The style of writing is fantastic, the plot totally mesmerising and the character WOW!!! Sometimes one gets really lucky, you pick up a book and think it might be an OK read, then you complete 5 or 6 chapters and come to the realisation you've stumbled across one of the top five reads of your life.. Such is the case with 'I Am Pilgrim'. As far as spy thrillers go, this is hands down the best, relegates the likes of Clancy, Ludlum and LeCarre (as good as they are) into the also ran section. The style of writing is fantastic, the plot totally mesmerising and the character development superb, so much so I even began to empathise with the fundamentalist lunatic. It is 700 pages of intelligent, engrossing and breathtaking writing, I was disappointed to finish this one, not because I was dissatisfied with the ending, but because I had been swept up in the entire story and didn't want it to end. I cannot recommend 'I Am Pilgrim' highly enough.
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  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    January 1, 1970
    I finally finished this monster of a book! I normally read a book in a days time, but this one wouldn't allow that. I kept having to put the book down to look up stuff. The author captured my attention so much that I wanted to see what the characters were seeing. I love when that happens. The only problem is..it takes me forever to read the book.There has been a murder in a run down hotel in New York. A woman has been soaked in a tub of acid and her teeth removed. The killer does not want this I finally finished this monster of a book! I normally read a book in a days time, but this one wouldn't allow that. I kept having to put the book down to look up stuff. The author captured my attention so much that I wanted to see what the characters were seeing. I love when that happens. The only problem is..it takes me forever to read the book.There has been a murder in a run down hotel in New York. A woman has been soaked in a tub of acid and her teeth removed. The killer does not want this woman identified. That little tidbit starts the spin that is this book.The main character is the super-spy guy. I'm going to call him Scott, but he has so many different names that I don't think he remembers his own either. Scott has retired from the business. He just wants some peace and quiet after giving all he has to his country. You know that ain't gonna happen though. There is a major terrorist out there that is about to start his dreams of taking down the infidels of the west (America). He doesn't plan on stopping there though. He wants to wipe out as many people globally as he can.Enter Scott's old bosses, those types of guys that never give you much information, because it's classified.This guy is what Jason Bourne would have been if he wasn't played by this puss head. Times a hundred. \Mostly I was thinking about how the secret world never leaves you-it's always waiting in the darkness, ready to gather its children back again.I don't want to give too much of the book away. I will say that this story line terrified me. Completely and utterly. I could see this happening and I hope to all that is Tom Cruise that some nut job doesn't decide to make it come true. BE PEACEFUL MOTHERFUCKERS!!This was also a debut for this author. I never would have guessed that. There were a few bad things. (This would have gotten a full five star otherwise)The book does drag at times, but if I put it down I could feel it calling to me, I couldn't take not knowing what was going on when I wasn't reading. There is a TON of info. I feel like I know this character inside and out. I added him to my Christmas card list. We cousins now. There is a few boo-boo's with the medical stuff. There are two instances that I had to stop and say.."you got that shit wrong"..but there is enough right that I didn't hold it against him. Some readers are going to say that it's bent towards America winning. I'm American..so I'm okay with that. I hear that a movie is in the works for this big old sucker. I'm going to go and practice my DEFCON 1 look and get ready! Booksource: Library, but I am ordering copies for my husband and ex-father in law. My friend Mark's review uses words better than I do. Don't be scared of the clown face. I don't think he bites..maybe.
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  • LeeAnne
    January 1, 1970
    Everyone loves this book but me. I am flabberghasted by all of the gushing, rave reviews of this book! (?)I Am PilgrimSummary: A Jason Bourne-like super spy must stop a genius jihadist planning a pandemic by unleashing a potent strain of smallpox which will kill off most of the population in the United States.My thoughts: This book is a long-winded string of action spy movie cliches. It lacks momentum. There are many unbelievable coincidences and plot twists. There are endless backstories and Everyone loves this book but me. I am flabberghasted by all of the gushing, rave reviews of this book! (?)I Am PilgrimSummary: A Jason Bourne-like super spy must stop a genius jihadist planning a pandemic by unleashing a potent strain of smallpox which will kill off most of the population in the United States.My thoughts: This book is a long-winded string of action spy movie cliches. It lacks momentum. There are many unbelievable coincidences and plot twists. There are endless backstories and side stories that meander all over the place. The dialogue is so silly, it sounds as if it was written by a 12-yr-old boy who has watched every 007 James Bond movie ever made a million times. Oh, and even though our super-spy is in a race against time to try and save the world, he still has time to swing by NYC and look into a crime scene to help a detective solve a murder mystery. (eye roll)MGM is already adapting this book into a film. Go figure. O_o
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  • Jeanette
    January 1, 1970
    Superb. That was a six-star ride for me, sure enough. I like the way he took a philosophical turn at the end without getting too cheesy. I am determined to write a review without spoilers, which means I can't tell you much about the plot. By the time I got around to reading the book, I'd forgotten why I requested it, and that turned out to be a very good thing. I prefer my surprises and plot twists to be unadulterated by book jacket blurbs and blabby reviewers.Here's the all-you-need-to-know Superb. That was a six-star ride for me, sure enough. I like the way he took a philosophical turn at the end without getting too cheesy. I am determined to write a review without spoilers, which means I can't tell you much about the plot. By the time I got around to reading the book, I'd forgotten why I requested it, and that turned out to be a very good thing. I prefer my surprises and plot twists to be unadulterated by book jacket blurbs and blabby reviewers.Here's the all-you-need-to-know version of the plot:The man who calls himself Pilgrim has a long history in secret operations. He is pressed into service to apprehend a Saudi Arabian dude who has manufactured a “homemade apocalypse”. All by his little old self he made it. No secret terrorist cells or Al-Qaeda. Just one way too brilliant guy who has been planning for many years to destroy America.. There's a whole lot of other stuff going on, including an investigation of a murder in NYC, but it's all incorporated into the main story arc. Sounds simple, right? Nope. Not simple at all, and that's why I loved it so and wanted to give it six stars. Complexity. Depth of back story for the primary characters. Lots of globe trotting, with just the right amount of detail about each location to make it feel real without sounding like a tourist guide. And what else? It's scary as hell, because this kind of thing could happen. Right now. Tomorrow. Next year. The tragedies of September 11, 2001 would almost seem small compared to what's possible. (Small in the sense of number of lives lost, not small for those who lost loved ones.)And here's what else is exceptional about this novel. Terry Hayes is a veteran of the movie business, so he knows a thing or two about pacing, suspense, and setting up exciting bang-bang-shoot-em-up scenes and car chases. There's a great scene in a boat house in Turkey that could be shot on film as is and blow your socks off. Enough of my raving. Just go read the book. My review copy was 606 pages, and I read it in about a week. That was hard on my dry eyes, but I couldn't resist the pull. Is it perfect? No. But I'm not going to tell you what I perceived to be the flaws. I don't want them to jump out at you just because I mentioned them. It's one hell of a ride, and that's all that matters. (Cross-posted on Library Thing. Cross-post attempted on Book Likes, but they do not have this book in their system.)
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  • Tony Mac
    January 1, 1970
    This long and often rambling thriller just left a bad taste in my mouth. There's no denying that the author has clearly done a lot of research and he has an economical way with words that allows his often fragmented narrative to remain essentially readable. But there is still a lack of realism, shoddy plotting and a nasty veneer of racism, xenophobia and right-wing triumphalism that is barely hidden throughout. For all the intricate plotting the story too often depends on some pretty This long and often rambling thriller just left a bad taste in my mouth. There's no denying that the author has clearly done a lot of research and he has an economical way with words that allows his often fragmented narrative to remain essentially readable. But there is still a lack of realism, shoddy plotting and a nasty veneer of racism, xenophobia and right-wing triumphalism that is barely hidden throughout. For all the intricate plotting the story too often depends on some pretty unbelievable coincidences, all of it a result of trying to lever far too much in. There is simply no need to try to mesh a New York murder mystery with an international terrorist plot (not to mention a revenge vendetta). It all ends up contrived and silly and Hayes would have been better saving one plot for a sequel. It's not even clear what kind of book the author is trying to write. Is it a serial-killer detective thriller, or a CIA confessional, or a middle-eastern polemic, or a James Bond exotic caper, or a race-against-time globe-trotting adventure? It tries to be all of these things and simply ends up confusing itself. As for our hero, a super-spy come existentialist loner, he's equally bemusing and unbelievable throughout: his backstory maudlin, his pompously self-styled expertise unconvincing, his effortless retirement unlikely and his actions irrational. He's like a cypher squeezed into whichever literary genre Hayes is cheerfully butchering at any given time.However it's the tone and undercurrent of this book that are particularly repellent. The neocon posturing is endless as the author tut-tuts at every hackneyed liberal position from freedom of information to European Union immigration policy. One can only wonder at the kind of functional world he actually wants. All foreigners are reduced to one-dimensional stereotypes: corrupt officials, leering gigolos, psychotic jihadists, incompetent policemen, unscrupulous bankers, crass nouveau-riche. We even have a comic-relief Turkish hotel manager who seems to have wandered in from an old episode of the Benny Hill Show. All of them are irredeemably sleazy, particularly in contrast to our ever-principled American heroes, and all of them, bizarrely, appear fluent in American-style English, to avoid the author the trouble of translation or language barriers. Even the Saracen, for all the commendable detail put into his story, never amounts to much more than a typical fundamentalist nutjob, and his Achilles Heel at the end is totally unconvincing and negates 600 pages of careful development.If you are a conservative American you'll probably love this. If not, beware. It's like Jack Ryan with Fox News editorials.
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  • Jennifer Masterson
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! Terry Hayes is absolutely Brilliant! I loved this book so much I slowed down my reading because I didn't want it to end. The best book I have read in a long time. It is so much more than a thriller. This book takes place all over the world ( including Greenwich, CT, where the main character was brought up after his mother died ). It's not only a fantastic story but it has such wonderful character development. This is a MUST READ even if you don't read a lot. I cried in parts, that's how Wow! Terry Hayes is absolutely Brilliant! I loved this book so much I slowed down my reading because I didn't want it to end. The best book I have read in a long time. It is so much more than a thriller. This book takes place all over the world ( including Greenwich, CT, where the main character was brought up after his mother died ). It's not only a fantastic story but it has such wonderful character development. This is a MUST READ even if you don't read a lot. I cried in parts, that's how good the character development was!!! A Thriller has never made me cry before! Without giving away too much I Iove how it took a spiritual twist at the end. It was absolutely wonderful!!!
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  • Frances
    January 1, 1970
    In a cheap hotel room, Scott Murdock, a forensic expert, searches for any clues or evidence from a particularly gruesome murder. As the story unfolds it becomes clear this is no ordinary crime thriller but much, much more. Murdock is a former member of a covert intelligence organization and top level government officials want him back. Scott has no option but to accept the assignment and try to survive a deadly secret known to only eleven people. Some scenes are quite brutal and disturbing but In a cheap hotel room, Scott Murdock, a forensic expert, searches for any clues or evidence from a particularly gruesome murder. As the story unfolds it becomes clear this is no ordinary crime thriller but much, much more. Murdock is a former member of a covert intelligence organization and top level government officials want him back. Scott has no option but to accept the assignment and try to survive a deadly secret known to only eleven people. Some scenes are quite brutal and disturbing but the well written novel grabs hold and becomes difficult to put down. There is no doubt Terry Hayes has an extraordinary gift for writing as the reader becomes immersed in a deadly, frightening plot that is guaranteed to keep the reader up well past the midnight hour. As quoted in the book; ‘in war, the first casualty is truth”. I am Pilgrim suggests we are not as safe as you may think. It is definitely one of the best crime/spy thrillers out there.
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    "Who is this guy, Terry Hayes?", I asked myself when I was 200 pages in to the 600+ page I Am Pilgrim I was so hooked I had to read a bio of the author and you might want to also. I Am Pilgrim is a big book, in more ways than one. It's 600+ pages requires a time commitment but reads quite quickly. I think publishers spoil us with the neat packaged books of 340 pages so when we get something longer, it scares us off. Don't let the length of this one bother you. I think this debut is going to be a "Who is this guy, Terry Hayes?", I asked myself when I was 200 pages in to the 600+ page I Am Pilgrim I was so hooked I had to read a bio of the author and you might want to also. I Am Pilgrim is a big book, in more ways than one. It's 600+ pages requires a time commitment but reads quite quickly. I think publishers spoil us with the neat packaged books of 340 pages so when we get something longer, it scares us off. Don't let the length of this one bother you. I think this debut is going to be a word of mouth huge best seller this summer. I Am Pilgrim has got it all. It starts off with an expertly described ghastly murder scene of a young woman found dead in a bath of acid in a dingy hotel called The Eastside Inn. I couldn't believe where this beginning took me. Hayes has managed to weave a plot that includes the beheading of a man in a Saudi Arabian public square, an adopted child who becomes an agent in an organization that doesn't exist, a NY city hero cop, a boy with Downs Syndrome, the death of a wealthy playboy, religion, love, honor, and a terrorist plot that will eradicate millions in the US and that's only the half of it. He pulls this off in a hair raising adventure all over the Mideast and back which at times pushes the limits but doesn't spoil the ride. Just thank heavens someone's on our side. Be warned some of the scenes of murder and torture are gruesome. I found myself cringing at the least and skipping over some the worst. I Am Pilgrim is one of the best spy thrillers I've read in some time. Scary for certain, plausible, I'd love to have a scientist chime in. The Film rights are still up in the air but I can see it. Take my word for it - get it - read it. It's that good!
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  • Joey Woolfardis
    January 1, 1970
    I did not finish the story of pilgrim.i.am, despite others raving about his rapping abilities secret agent prowess. There are several reasons, but the top reason being that he is an utter cunt.His nicknames for women in "male" jobs are ridiculous; "Wunderbra" because any woman with big tits is obviously too stupid to have a good job and should, quote, come from Hooters. "Short Skirt" and "High Heels" are just passing women with nothing important to add at all, except to give him something to I did not finish the story of pilgrim.i.am, despite others raving about his rapping abilities secret agent prowess. There are several reasons, but the top reason being that he is an utter cunt.His nicknames for women in "male" jobs are ridiculous; "Wunderbra" because any woman with big tits is obviously too stupid to have a good job and should, quote, come from Hooters. "Short Skirt" and "High Heels" are just passing women with nothing important to add at all, except to give him something to look at. He's the most sexist character I've come across in a while. He's basically Sherlock Holmes in a world with hi-tech gadgets but without the drug problem and redeeming qualities. He's so full of himself; it was fine at first but he is really so full of himself. I can't imagine the book getting better or Mr. Pilgrim growing as a person at all. It seems an impossibility.It wasn't written so terribly that I couldn't understand or follow, but there were so many tangents and huge info dumps about his past that made the whole thing seem like 900 pages really was just far too many. I feel bad about all the other books I've rate 1 star because this was even worse than those. Never mind half stars, GoodReads, we need minus stars. Or some kind of helmet that removes the memory. Amazon are probably working on that already, anyway.Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Shop | Etsy
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  • Peter Gasston
    January 1, 1970
    Having read so many good reviews of this, I was quite looking forward to reading it. About a fifth of the way in, I just wanted it to end. It is, at times, hilariously badly written. I started highlighting awful sentences until that became too time-consuming.“a vicious wind howling out of the steppes, hot, carrying with it the smell of Asia and the stench of betrayal” - oh really, what does that smell like?“I may not be on top of anyone’s list for male lead in Deep Throat II, but I didn’t have Having read so many good reviews of this, I was quite looking forward to reading it. About a fifth of the way in, I just wanted it to end. It is, at times, hilariously badly written. I started highlighting awful sentences until that became too time-consuming.“a vicious wind howling out of the steppes, hot, carrying with it the smell of Asia and the stench of betrayal” - oh really, what does that smell like?“I may not be on top of anyone’s list for male lead in Deep Throat II, but I didn’t have anything to be ashamed of” - Deep Throat? That was forty years ago!“Despite all her years of relentless sex, [the phone call] was to the only real man in her life – her father.”The worst problem - among many - is that the author keeps telling us how amazing his main character is, without ever really showing us. He’s the world’s best killer, detective, forensic scientist… one supporting character says of him:”There was one thing: he was clever – I mean, outstandingly clever – at what he did. I remember wondering if all FBI agents were that good.”But the central mystery of the book is solved through absolute coincidence. By pure chance he’s working on two unrelated cases which happen to coincide. All through the book he gets lucky breaks, make guesses with no logic behind them but always turn out right… really, the one bit of actual detective work he does involves a bit of science that’s absolutely ridiculous.The main character just seems like a bit of an unlikeable dick. He’s super-rich, arrogant, has an unpleasant streak of misogyny running through him, and apparently has a voracious appetite for drugs (which again, we’re only told about, never shown).He’s even, apparently, an expert on playing bass.“‘You’re a good bass player,’ I told him, ‘maybe one of the best I’ve heard – and I know what I’m talking about’”This, along with his self-decribed ‘dark streak’ makes him seem like a super-agent dreamed up by a 17-year-old boy.The one thing you can say about the book is that it keeps the pages turning, but that’s all done through the James Patterson Technique - short chapters, with a cliffhanger in almost every one. It also uses the cheap trick of hiding information from the reader although we’re supposed to be present with the narrator at all times.“I opened the plastic bag, took out the device I had purchased and headed towards them.” - What device? Why didn’t you tell us when you bought it?The narration is often confused, talking in the third person then suddenly breaking into first, as you realise that it’s the narrator somehow telling us the private thoughts of other characters.If you’ve read this far, you can probably guess that I can’t recommend this book at all. A grand waste of my time.
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    If you enjoy a good mystery-spy novel with a super hero, you are in for a treat! The story begins with an unusually bizzare murder.....no big deal, right? Wrong! The bizzare death of a young (acid soaked) woman leads you on a multi-layered thrilling ride following the activities of one of the world's most secret and intelligent agents.While searching for a revengeful Palestinian terrorist who is planning a deadly crime against mankind, our Pilgrim will take you through a multitude of intense, If you enjoy a good mystery-spy novel with a super hero, you are in for a treat! The story begins with an unusually bizzare murder.....no big deal, right? Wrong! The bizzare death of a young (acid soaked) woman leads you on a multi-layered thrilling ride following the activities of one of the world's most secret and intelligent agents.While searching for a revengeful Palestinian terrorist who is planning a deadly crime against mankind, our Pilgrim will take you through a multitude of intense, heroic, shocking and sometimes gruesome events. (there's even a visit from a relative of Annie Wilkes and a place so sinister and isolated, it's referred to as The Overlook Hotel)Although the character's and their background stories kept me interested throughout the 600+ pages, there were times our protagonist's adventures were a bit predictable and DID make me think of James Bond, but hey.....I've always liked 007.Great debut novel......look forward to the movie!
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    INTENSE & THRILLING. My heart is still palpitating. Hayes' first crime narrative takes us through a labyrinth of deception, espionage and bioterrorism through various countries, shocking cultures and disturbing deaths. Jack Pilgrim is not your average CIA. I Am Pilgrim is not your average crime novel. It had me teetering on the edge of my chair chewing my nails down to the cuticle. Amazing 5 must read. INTENSE & THRILLING. My heart is still palpitating. Hayes' first crime narrative takes us through a labyrinth of deception, espionage and bioterrorism through various countries, shocking cultures and disturbing deaths. Jack Pilgrim is not your average CIA. I Am Pilgrim is not your average crime novel. It had me teetering on the edge of my chair chewing my nails down to the cuticle. Amazing 5 ☆ must read.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    In some ways this may end up being a fairly simplistic review in comparison to others I have read about this wonderful novel. However for me, this book was very much about the journey I found within its pages – hooked from the very first paragraph I barely looked out on the world again until I was done. For me, as a book lover, blogger and a person who just wants to send your way the very best stories I find out there, this says more than any in depth critique of “I am Pilgrim” could achieve. I In some ways this may end up being a fairly simplistic review in comparison to others I have read about this wonderful novel. However for me, this book was very much about the journey I found within its pages – hooked from the very first paragraph I barely looked out on the world again until I was done. For me, as a book lover, blogger and a person who just wants to send your way the very best stories I find out there, this says more than any in depth critique of “I am Pilgrim” could achieve. I do have more to say of course – but that is the long and the short of it fellow readers.Firstly, what struck me when I received my copy was the sheer size of the book. That excited me – nowadays its rare to find a book that can hold your attention over so many pages – authors don’t tend to write them. Now of course, there is nothing wrong with a book of any size as long as you ENJOY it but I have always been a lover of stories that perhaps give you that little bit more. Its difficult to achieve but Terry Hayes has done so. There is a reason why “The Stand” by Stephen King is still my number 1 book of all time – it, like Pilgrim, is an absorbing, exciting, heart stopping tale with heart that doesnt end in a flash but gives you greater insight and a longer period of time over which to enjoy it. If you, like me, appreciate that sort of thing then this book is definitely for you.Following “Pilgrim” on his journey was without doubt one of my favourite reading experiences ever. The sheer scale of the story will astound you – as you learn about his background, the things he achieved or perhaps didnt, you will be enthralled and totally caught up in the moment. I have seen reviewers say that it was obviously written with an eye to a blockbuster movie – well I can see their point, especially given the author’s background – but actually I disagree. Its all about the story….written in a way that will keep you READING – it wasnt until I was done with it that I cast it in my head (yes, yes I do that with everything!) during the actual time spent within its pages, a movie was the last thing on my mind. Starting off as a murder mystery it turns into something else altogether – a chase across continents to stop an atrocity and to catch an evil man. Part crime mystery, mostly enthralling spy thriller with an opponent the like of which you may think y0u’ve seen before but havent – its heart stoppingly good. Not since Nelson De Mille’s “The Lion” who appeared in some of the John Corey books will you find a “terrorist” as intriguing as this one. And just as intriguing is the man trying to catch him…a man I still don’t truly know.Its clever. Its exciting. It is never dull and always unexpected. It has more than one story – you will get an awful lot for your money here. Apart from that I say nothing. If you want an in depth plot analysis you will need to look elsewhere – it won’t be hard, this book has touched many – I will end by saying that this is a must read for anyone who simply loves books. And reading. And finding those stories that will always stay with you and you will read again. Will it knock any of my “top ten reads of all time” down a space on my list? Well you’ll have to wait and see. My Top Ten Books is a blogpost that will appear later in the year on Liz Loves Books!
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  • Phrynne
    January 1, 1970
    This book is remarkable. The last section is so tense I am exhausted just from reading it! Who is Pilgrim? I have just read over 900 pages (in the paperback version) and I still do not really know. Nevertheless he is brilliant at what he does and he makes a fascinating and very appealing main character. The story is excellent, the pacing and the tension are brilliant and at no time does it ever seem like a long book! If you enjoy a good thriller then read this. It's not good, it is superb!
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    I just finished. OMG! That was so good! I cannot wait for the sequel. I hope it lives up to it's predecessor. If you like books that keep you guessing and turning the pages this is for you. As other people who read this have written, some things were a bit implausible but it is fiction after all...although in the world we live in today it is also very scary. I imagine this scenario could become reality.
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  • Dem
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of those books that I passed in the book shop on numerous occasions without even picking up up because the cover didn't appeal to me and it just looked like way too many pages for my liking. Only on recommendations from two trustworthy friends did I eventually read this novel. Once again " never judge a book by its cover teaches me a valuable lesson. I really enjoyed this well crafted thriller. It's the sort of book you get into quite quickly and I loved the character development and This is one of those books that I passed in the book shop on numerous occasions without even picking up up because the cover didn't appeal to me and it just looked like way too many pages for my liking. Only on recommendations from two trustworthy friends did I eventually read this novel. Once again " never judge a book by its cover teaches me a valuable lesson. I really enjoyed this well crafted thriller. It's the sort of book you get into quite quickly and I loved the character development and really enjoyed the sense of time and place. There was times I must admit I found some of the scenes tough going and others a bit far fetched but it was a thriller that certainly kept me engrossed and turning the pages way into the night. For readers who enjoy a good thriller and are not not put off by torture scenes then this is well worth your time.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars In the aftermath of the Twin Towers disaster on 9/11 a woman is murdered in a cheap hotel in lower Manhattan. The victim's face and fingerprints have been destroyed by acid, her teeth have been removed, and the room has been uber-cleaned with industrial strength chemicals. It's clear the killer took lessons from a scholarly book about forensics penned by 'Jude Garrett' - the assumed name of a retired, thirty-something, secret agent for a super-secret branch of the CIA. Because he's a 4.5 stars In the aftermath of the Twin Towers disaster on 9/11 a woman is murdered in a cheap hotel in lower Manhattan. The victim's face and fingerprints have been destroyed by acid, her teeth have been removed, and the room has been uber-cleaned with industrial strength chemicals. It's clear the killer took lessons from a scholarly book about forensics penned by 'Jude Garrett' - the assumed name of a retired, thirty-something, secret agent for a super-secret branch of the CIA. Because he's a forensics expert, the police ask 'Jude Garrett' to consult on the case. The few clues retrieved from the crime scene include a calendar featuring ancient ruins and a partial phone number. We come to learn that 'Jude Garrett' - code name Pilgrim - grew up as the adopted son of a wealthy couple. He had a privileged life, went to the best schools, and was recruited by the CIA after graduating from Harvard. Pilgrim - who's intelligent, clever, intuitive, tough, and brave - may just be the best agent in the world. And he'll need to be when he goes up against an Arab zealot dubbed Saracen, a very cunning terrorist. As the book shifts back and forth between Saracen's story and Pilgrim's story we find out that Saracen grew up in an educated, devout Muslim family in Saudi Arabia. Saracen's radicalization began when he was 14, after his father was publicly beheaded for criticizing the Saudi royal family. By the age of 18 Saracen was a highly skilled Muj (Mujaheddin) in Afghanistan, during the country's war with Russia. Afterwards Saracen devised a diabolical plot to get revenge against Saudi Arabia and the U.S. which (in his eyes) supports the evil regime there. Saracen's long-term plan involved going to medical school, becoming a respected doctor, and developing an enormously destructive biological weapon - a disease that has a fatality rate of 100 percent. Most readers will be riveted and impressed (though horrified) as Saracen goes about executing his smart, cruel, diabolical plan. As a 'clean skin' (complete unknown) Saracen is not on the radar of any western countries. The Arab zealot has a bit of bad luck, however, and his potential weapon comes to the attention of the CIA, which immediately recruits Pilgrim out of retirement to stop the apocalypse. Pilgrim soon learns that Saracen has a contact in Bogrum, Turkey. Serendipitously, a young American billionaire has just been killed in Bogrum. So Pilgrim, in the guise of an FBI agent looking into the billionaire's death, arrives in Bogrum to pursue Saracen. Pilgrim has several stateside contacts ready to assist: Ben Bradley - an extremely capable NYPD police officer who was badly hurt on 9/11; 'The Whisperer' - the Head of U.S. Intelligence; and Battleboi - a convicted (but genial) super-hacker. As Saracen's plan, which has taken a couple of decades to complete, comes to fruition he prepares to launch his attack on America. Once America is in chaos (he thinks) it will no longer be able to support Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile Pilgrim, who's also investigating the billionaire's death to maintain his cover, is on Saracen's trail. AND EUREKA, the billionaire's death has a connection with the woman murdered in the cheap Manhattan hotel at the beginning of the story. (Talk about good luck! Or good plotting!) Saracen's biological weapon is perfected and sent on its way to America while Pilgrim races around Eastern Europe and the Middle East, collecting clues about the Arab's real identity and history. Pilgrim is desperate to find out where, when, and how the weapon will be launched. All this leads to a dramatic, heart-pounding climax in an ancient ruin near the Turkish coast. The book is a compelling page-turner with an interesting array of characters including a female Turkish homicide detective, Eastern European thugs, Mujaheddin believers, decadent Americans vacationing in Turkey, a handsome, well-built masseur in a tiny thong swimsuit (LOL), American socialites, government moles, an endearing little boy , and more. I especially like the scenes where Pilgrim talks about his beloved adoptive father Bill, a good and kind man who enjoyed sailing and collecting the work of unknown artists. By the end of the book all the elements of the plot come together in a satisfactory manner, though some loose ends point to a possible sequel. One small quibble I have with the story is the constant foreshadowing. Pilgrim's narration includes a lot of: "I should have paid better attention.....", "I should have listened more carefully......", "If only I'd known.....", "That was a mistake....", and so on. A little of this goes a long way. Another thing that bothers me goes to the core of Saracen's deadly plan. He seems to think his biological weapon will destroy his enemies and that will be more or less the end of it. In reality, though, there would be no controlling the spread of the disease and the resulting pandemic would impact every country on Earth including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, etc. - wherever Saracen plans to settle down after the U.S. catastrophe. In fact, the way Saracen's weapon is described, it would probably wipe out 99% of the world's population. (This is a work of fiction though, so I guess it gets a pass.)Overall, this is a very enjoyable, well-written book, highly recommended.You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, wow, and wow! I had to wait a little while to write this review just to let the full force of it hit me. I honestly have not read a novel as well written and thrillingly addictive since Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Thrillers are a genre I've not had much success with... they tend to be too predicable and cliche'. This one, however, met and exceeded all of my expectations. I was kept, literally, 'sitting on the edge of my seat' the entire 700 pages. I would give this an easy 10 stars if I Wow, wow, and wow! I had to wait a little while to write this review just to let the full force of it hit me. I honestly have not read a novel as well written and thrillingly addictive since Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Thrillers are a genre I've not had much success with... they tend to be too predicable and cliche'. This one, however, met and exceeded all of my expectations. I was kept, literally, 'sitting on the edge of my seat' the entire 700 pages. I would give this an easy 10 stars if I could... A true gem to ANY reader.
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  • Zoeytron
    January 1, 1970
    They say the devil is in the details, and no truer words have ever been spoken. This is one dense novel packed to the very brim with murder, treachery, and intrigue. A ghost, a cleanskin, a pathfinder. It is a fine line that divides religious devotion and fanatical zealotry. Follow the Pilgrim as he progresses in his fevered search for the Seracen. Time is running out. They say the devil is in the details, and no truer words have ever been spoken.  This is one dense novel packed to the very brim with murder, treachery, and intrigue.  A ghost, a cleanskin, a pathfinder.  It is a fine line that divides religious devotion and fanatical zealotry.  Follow the Pilgrim as he progresses in his fevered search for the Seracen.  Time is running out.
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  • Sharon Bolton
    January 1, 1970
    ‘The chemical flood hit his limbs – he realized with a wild rage that nothing could stop it now – and he saw his car keys fall from the jelly that used to be his hands.’ I looked forward to this book for months and finished it in about four days which, when you consider it is nearly 800 pages long, says something about its pace. At the end of all that, I’m really not sure how to begin to review it. Given everything I’d been led to expect, this much-hyped book started, for me, rather surprisingly ‘The chemical flood hit his limbs – he realized with a wild rage that nothing could stop it now – and he saw his car keys fall from the jelly that used to be his hands.’ I looked forward to this book for months and finished it in about four days which, when you consider it is nearly 800 pages long, says something about its pace. At the end of all that, I’m really not sure how to begin to review it. Given everything I’d been led to expect, this much-hyped book started, for me, rather surprisingly quietly. A baffling murder scene in a run-down New York hostel brings together our hero, Pilgrim, and the NYPD copper, Ben Bradley, who eventually becomes Pilgrim’s side-kick and one of the most likeable characters of the book. It was interesting enough, well-written enough to hold my attention, but not the epic, race against time, most thrilling thriller ever written I’d been hoping for. It gets there – Oh, my, but it get’s there – it just doesn’t do it fast. There is a lot of backstory to get through before we can really get to grips with the main point of the book which, essentially, is a dual played out in a race against time, a clash of the Titans with not a moment to spare, a fight to the death between the two single strongest warriors of our age. Pilgrim and Saracen. Pilgrim is a member of the United States 'Department' - a kind of Military police for the CIA - staffed with people so deniable that even the Department's existence is kept secret. Pilgrim has risen through the shadowy ranks until he’s sent out to Turkey to discover all he can about a man who seems to be planning a massive bio-terror attack. It turns out to be the worst bio-terror attack imaginable: engineered smallpox that will devastate the world's population, starting with that of the United States. Saracen is a native of Saudi Arabia who, as a young boy saw his father publicly beheaded by the Saudi government. He and his family are forced to flee their home, he sees his beloved mother becoming increasingly westernized (corrupt) and eventually grows up to become one of the most trusted warriors of the Mujahedeen. The plot to annihilate America is his alone and he carries it out with a ruthless, terrifying brilliance. This book probably isn’t for everyone. Its length will put off some, as might the considerable amount of back story that needs to be absorbed in order to fully understand our two main characters. It has been described as both bigoted and racist, charges I wouldn’t accept, but I can understand why some people might be offended. On the other hand, it’s clever, brave, ambitious, fast-paced (towards the end I had to keep putting it down, I was genuinely afraid I might hyper-ventilate) original, brutal (one scene in particular I had to skip) and quite possibly the best thriller I’ve ever read.
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  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    This is possibly the most daft and implausible thriller that I have ever read. While I read it to get to the silliest of endings that I could have predicted many chapters ago the entire thing irritated me. The hero "Pilgrim" amongst many other names, is a teenagers conception of the ultimate man. Every woman he encounters is stunningly beautiful and every crime is solvable through the tinniest fragment of evidence. But he has no character at all. He is an everyman, he-man, that can kill with his This is possibly the most daft and implausible thriller that I have ever read. While I read it to get to the silliest of endings that I could have predicted many chapters ago the entire thing irritated me. The hero "Pilgrim" amongst many other names, is a teenagers conception of the ultimate man. Every woman he encounters is stunningly beautiful and every crime is solvable through the tinniest fragment of evidence. But he has no character at all. He is an everyman, he-man, that can kill with his little finger, knows the Directors of the Uffizi restoration programme in Florence and owns the most comprehensive contemporary art collection in the world. He can sail, write, kill and apparently look at 5 numbers and tell that they are a phone number for Bodrum in Turkey. But he has no relationships except with himself (a very vacant relationship), a cop in NY (a very spurious relationship formed through the most ridiculously implausible research by that cop)and with a kid with Downs Syndrome...Hayes's writing is for the most part is OK but descends into the bad every few lines. There is no nuance just a repeated chapter ending that makes us want to turn the page apparently - it is like a cheap comic book.My biggest irritation however was with the inconsistencies in the story and the timelines - warning: serious spoiler alerts follow:Cameron has been married to Dodge for eight months but she has been having an affair with Ingrid (Marilyn) prior to that marriage. They plot to kill Dodge, after the marriage, and do so fourteen months later. Hang on...they were only married for eight months. By my count Cameron/Dodge had to have been married for at least 15 months.The French House is rented by Dodge but Pilgrim says to Cameron you own it now [because he's dead]. Dodge never owned the house.The sunken Roman ruins beneath fathoms of water are turned into a dance floor for a rave party at a king tide. This is nonsense. Tidal range in this region is very small and even if the dance floor was exposed on a big low tide it would be completely flooded again within minutes on the reverse cycle. Yet the hundreds of guests for this spectacle take hours to arrive.The inconsistencies repeat all over the place. Pilgrim has apparently contemplated the art works that he has inherited many times but he is only briefly informed of this surprise inheritance during his critical mission. These timeline inconsistencies and others are continuous throughout the novel and they drove me nuts. I don't think Hayes had a clue what year it was because nothing in terms of time in the progress of the novel made any sense.The scenario of Ingrid(Marilyn)walking away from being in the midst of 9/11 and, at that moment, carefully plotting a murder one year later with a motive of identity theft is one of the most ridiculous constructs that I've ever read. Her concept for the perfect crime doesn't make sense either.I won't even bother to dip into the utter absurdity of the Saracen character...who apparently breaks into the most secure Syrian facility using the eyes of another man and his body weight...a facility that apparently doesn't have any CCTV??? Yet when his father is beheaded years before there is CCTV in a public square??? Give me a break.I could go on and on about the sheer absurdity of this novel. The ending is to vomit for. I was particularly annoyed by Hayes using the term "the wine dark sea" as his implausible and shallow hero sails off into the sunset. "The Wine Dark Sea" is the title of a novel by a much, much more accomplished author. This is truly crap at every level. I can't wait to miss the movie.
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  • Nandakishore Varma
    January 1, 1970
    I am abandoning this book at a 100 pages. It's just too boring and full of Islamophobia.The first chapter is excellent - which is why I bought this book. Well, silly me, that's all I have to say. The story starts with a horrific crime and an intriguing and mysterious detective - so I thought I had it made, leaned back in my chair, and prepared to enjoy myself. Well, the story fooled me by suddenly veering off into the history of the protagonist as a fearless operative of "The Division" - a part I am abandoning this book at a 100 pages. It's just too boring and full of Islamophobia.The first chapter is excellent - which is why I bought this book. Well, silly me, that's all I have to say. The story starts with a horrific crime and an intriguing and mysterious detective - so I thought I had it made, leaned back in my chair, and prepared to enjoy myself. Well, the story fooled me by suddenly veering off into the history of the protagonist as a fearless operative of "The Division" - a part of the US spy network, even more efficient and bloodthirsty than the CIA. He kills traitors, and wipes out a Greek tycoon in charge of "turning" American agents, and who is in the pay of the Russians. All very stirring stuff. Soon, I was yawning.Then Islamophobia started in right earnest, as the "hero" watched the twin towers coming down. He is full of righteous indignation and wanders the streets and contemplates shooting Moroccan drug peddlers just for the heck of it. From then onwards, the narrative is peppered with gems such as the following:Below it, almost on the lake's edge, rose the grey bulk of the President Wilson hotel, commanding a perfect view of Lake Geneva's most popular beach. Every summer, Saudis and other rich Arabs would pay a huge premium for rooms at the front so that they could watch women sunbathing topless on the grass.Well, we all know the lecherous Arab, panting after white women...The driver thought I was crazy - but then his religion thinks stoning a woman to death for adultery is reasonable, so I figured we were about even.The Muslim, crazy by definition.---------------------------Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have had it. Maybe it gets better later on, but I don't think I will be able to stomach this white supremacist trash any more without turning into a terrorist myself.And the writing is bad to boot.
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  • Rebecca Hazelton
    January 1, 1970
    I'm surprised at all the positive reviews, but then, people read books for a lot of different reasons. If you just want something to turn your brain off, this book might work out for you. Certainly that's how I approached it. But despite my best efforts to treat it like junk food, I couldn't turn off my critical thinking. The book has real POV oddities -- sometimes we're in the main character's head, and sometimes we are in 3rd person omniscient. Further blurring that is Hayes' tendency to have I'm surprised at all the positive reviews, but then, people read books for a lot of different reasons. If you just want something to turn your brain off, this book might work out for you. Certainly that's how I approached it. But despite my best efforts to treat it like junk food, I couldn't turn off my critical thinking. The book has real POV oddities -- sometimes we're in the main character's head, and sometimes we are in 3rd person omniscient. Further blurring that is Hayes' tendency to have Pilgrim speculate as to the thoughts and feelings of others -- generally as they are dying, which seems presumptuous and weird. Pilgram speaks with a great deal of authority about everything, and it's not always clear if his opinions are the author's as well, which makes me uneasy when he casts broad generalizations about the middle east. I made it through half of the book before I gave up and decided I had better things to do with my life. I think what really tipped it for me was just how incredibly flat any female character was. The only positive female characters are barely mentioned assassins, loyal wives, or stock women created for the purpose of highlighting Islamic culture's sexism. Other than that, any women are *constantly* putting their "best assets" (Hayes's words) on display for Pilgram's benefit. That's how ladies get it done, I guess. Anyway, if you'd like a book that plays on American political fears and adds in some light sexism and racism, this is the book for you.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    Astonishing. 700 pages of brilliance. A spy thriller that is so much more than that. It takes us, the lead characters and the author on a series of journeys, populated by 'real' people, obsessed by their own lives, living their own experiences,influenced or merely observed by our leads. It's a twisty path, covering so many countries, sometimes leading to tears, admiration, horror or to tremendous shocks and revelations. So many stories in one. This is indeed a storytelling pilgrimage. Every page Astonishing. 700 pages of brilliance. A spy thriller that is so much more than that. It takes us, the lead characters and the author on a series of journeys, populated by 'real' people, obsessed by their own lives, living their own experiences,influenced or merely observed by our leads. It's a twisty path, covering so many countries, sometimes leading to tears, admiration, horror or to tremendous shocks and revelations. So many stories in one. This is indeed a storytelling pilgrimage. Every page had me riveted. I am so sorry to have finished it!
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  • Brandon
    January 1, 1970
    Pilgrim is the code-name for one of the world’s foremost authorities in forensic investigation. Spending his entire career employed by a secret division of the US government, Pilgrim rode off into the sunset by putting a lifetime of knowledge into what would become the definitive text on forensic crime scene investigation. But what happens when someone uses Pilgrim’s book as a manual for committing the perfect crime?I received a free copy from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest Pilgrim is the code-name for one of the world’s foremost authorities in forensic investigation. Spending his entire career employed by a secret division of the US government, Pilgrim rode off into the sunset by putting a lifetime of knowledge into what would become the definitive text on forensic crime scene investigation. But what happens when someone uses Pilgrim’s book as a manual for committing the perfect crime?I received a free copy from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.The scope of Terry Hayes’ I Am Pilgrim is much larger than I initially expected. This tightly constructed, well researched thriller takes us around the world and into the lives of two very driven men on opposite sides of the spectrum. What begins as a squeaky clean murder scene expands into a global manhunt with the fate of the Western world hanging in the balance.When I first heard the synopsis, I instantly associated it with a Jack Bauer adventure. I expected a macho superspy loaded up with overflowing bravado with a penchant for kicking terrorist ass. Luckily for us, the author is ambitious enough to take a 600 page novel and really give it some backbone. The character development is top-notch and when both adversaries finally do meet, the groundwork has been laid perfectly to support such a high stakes battle.Without giving anything away, make sure you keep an eye on your pulse as the novel draws to a close. Despite all the work and all the room Hayes allotted himself to draw out the conclusion given the page count, he leaves it for the last thirty pages or so. That means that the storytelling is flying with white knuckle speed as Pilgrim tries to stop a global apocalypse. Great stuff.Supposedly this is the first in a series and while I’m up for revisiting the character, I would have been fine with this existing as a stand-alone novel – it’s that strong. If you’re a fan of blockbuster movies, this is one of those rare instances when a book can perfectly capture that feeling. Read with popcorn.Also posted @ Every Read Thing
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  • Malia
    January 1, 1970
    I AM PILGRIM is being touted as a stunning thriller in a class of its own, and so I admit I was sucked in. I am happy to say (after 700 pages?!?) that the book is, indeed, better than your run of the mill thriller both in terms of the plot itself as well as Hayes' writing style.I won't go into the plot, as I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but the story really pulls you in very quickly. It is written in first person which I found really effective in making you connect to the protagonist I AM PILGRIM is being touted as a stunning thriller in a class of its own, and so I admit I was sucked in. I am happy to say (after 700 pages?!?) that the book is, indeed, better than your run of the mill thriller both in terms of the plot itself as well as Hayes' writing style.I won't go into the plot, as I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but the story really pulls you in very quickly. It is written in first person which I found really effective in making you connect to the protagonist a.k.a. Pilgrim/Scott/Jude or one of the other names he used. I often find my problem with thrillers to be that I cannot connect to the main character at all, not just because they are usually male and superhuman, but also because they are written in third person. Hayes immediately achieves a sense of intimacy between the reader and the character by allowing us to know his most private thoughts and letting us know him better than anyone else. On the outside, he remains highly enigmatic to everyone he meets, so you feel, reading it, as though you are really living the story through him, which, I think, is the mark of a good writer.I will say that the plot was, at times, a little confusing and I actually had to go back to re-read or check something I had missed earlier. That said, it does wrap up nicely, and I enjoyed the way Hayes used memory and flashbacks to slowly unfold the story. Despite this and its length, the book moves quickly and I was never bored.I look forward to the next installment in what promises to be an engaging series.Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com
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  • Tim
    January 1, 1970
    The second half of this long novel is much better than the first due to much less religious fanaticism. Happy I didn't give up on this at time tortuous story since the ending is well crafted. 6 of 10 stars!
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