This summer, my family and I set out on the road headed for the Rocky Mountains. It was going to be a long drive so I knew that I was up to the task of reading the 612 page, debut fiction by Terry Hayes called I am Pilgrim. It came highly recommended by reviewers and I was sure that this thriller would keep my attention even as my four and eight year old kids chattered in the background. The story began with a murder in a hotel room whereby the victim was rendered unidentifiable. The local police reached out to an old friend and retired CIA operative, Scott Murdoch, who worked for a part of the government so obscure that it was only know as The Division. What unfolds is a story of intricate details, weaving of characters, and a reader left wondering how it all fit together.
I read the story over a course of a few days but as we were making our way home, I quickly felt my time running out. I was desperate to know, how would it end? Would the Pilgrim (aka Scott) catch “the Saracen,” a Muslim jihadist, set on delivering a massive attack by unleashing a case of smallpox so deadly that it breaks through the most impenetrable of vaccines? I hung onto every word and was rewarded in the end. I will always pick up a suspense-thriller but what I loved about the story was the richness of the characters, their cultures, and their place in the story. The story spans the last three decades and is set in the US, Pakistan, Lebanon, Afghanistan, France, and Turkey. Hayes, originally a screenwriter and movie producer, draws the reader in with his historical connections of people to these lands. I would also highly recommend this read to anyone who is a fan of Vince Flynn, Neal Stephenson, Alex Berenson, and Daniel Silva.
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Next on my reading list…a few found on our shelves.