Last year I stumbled on to a book by William Kent Krueger titled Ordinary Grace. It turned out to be the best novel I read that year. Now I have stumbled on to another book by a previously unknown-to-me author. His name is Terry Hayes and the book is titled I Am Pilgrim. It is a pretty daunting book with its huge number of pages and its non-welcoming cover. Having a fingerprint as the cover art did not make the book very appealing.
Still I did have enough interest to crack the book and read the very first line -- There are places I'll remember all my life ... With that introduction I fell down the rabbit hole just like Alice. I became part of a world of spies and terrorists, good men and evil ones. These people and places did not become a part of my world. I became a part of theirs.
The hero of the book is a mysterious man. Though young, he is very adept at doing his job. He is one of the best the company has to offer. He has been used in too many hairy situations and has become burned out. Thus he has decided to come in from the cold and retire. But as is the case with most men of this type, he always gets pulled in for one more job.
The new job is to find a terrorist who is known as "the Saracen." This man is brilliant, and his goal is to destroy the United States. He has a plan on how to do this and it is a good one. Hayes makes sure we see how good it is and how in all probability he will be successful. But he also gives us details concerning the master spy's skill set and the reader becomes aware of how good he is too.
The book is full of details. This usually means there will be boring passages while the information is being disclosed. That is how it is done by average writers, but Hayes is no average writer. He has a talent so immense that he never writes a boring sentence or paragraph. Everything on the page is essential, and more importantly it is interesting. Boredom does not exist in Terry Hayes' world. He is the master of non-boredom.
There is so much contained in this book. There is the basic chase between the good guy and the bad guy, and this takes up the majority of the story. There are also side plots that give the book added texture and flavor. Each of these other stories are tied in with the basic one and they all come together in the end. Terry Hayes knows readers want satisfaction and he delivers it in spades.
I Am Pilgrim is the best book I have read this year. There may be others that push it out of this top slot but I would bet good money it stays in my top five of 2014. I think it will impress and entertain you just as much as it did me.
I Am Pilgrim is published by Atria Books. It contains 624 pages and sells for $26.99.
Jackie K Cooper