I Am Pilgrim -Terry Hayes

I am Pilgrim

My life has shifted on its axis. I finally delved into Terry Hayes tome, I am Pilgrim and now everything must change. I have to clear out my bookshelf and put this fantastic novel on a shelf all by its self while I ponder everything I just read. So move over Ludlum, shove over Lehane, there’s a new boy on the block and he’s bad (I mean “bad” in the colloquial sense, as in “Damn Good”).

It’s a hefty novel, but that’s no deterrent, as I wish it were even longer. The novel centres on the protagonist Scott Murdoch? (The question mark becomes relevant once you’ve read the novel) who is an American spy, agent, deep, deep undercover operative etc. He is on a race to save the world from a biological attack and time is ticking, and in his spare time he solves a New York murder case –Ha, I love it!

Terry Hayes is a man who knows his craft. This may be his debut novel,but Google his biography and you’ll see he has serious cred. His plotting is very tight and complex; the writing is intelligent and suspenseful. I sat in the waiting room at Toyota while I had new tyres fitted, and my hands were tightly gripping the book as I read the final chapters.

Here’s a puzzle:

How long does it take Toyota to fit two new tyres?

Two hours.

At the end of the two hours I was at a pivotal point in the story, the Toyota man called my name. I put my hand up to silence the annoying man and resumed biting my nails and my eyes continued to rapidly scan the pages. I came to a suitable place to stop, raced home and finished the book.

Like any great book it is still lingering in my thoughts. Hayes has created a hero that we haven’t seen since Jason Bourne, and I hope to see a lot more of him.

This is a suspense novel that deals with sensitive and serious subjects and it is handle with respect, skilled observation and the critique of a good journalist. Hayes doesn’t dictate to the reader he is a masterful storyteller and the reader is taken on a thrilling journey.

NB: This is an adult novel, if considering for a teen reader note that it does contain some torture scenes, although it is not an overly graphic novel.

Catch a Q&A with Terry Hayes here: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/blog/top-writing-tips-from-debut-thriller-writer-terry-hayes-2167.aspx

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A book is a book, or is it?

Boy with book

“Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own”.
-William Hazlitt

There was one book in my childhood, which shone brighter than all the others it was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I read this book over and over. My mother was the school librarian, and she would exclaim ‘again?’ when I’d place the book on her desk on library day. My mother probably thought my recurrent borrowing was because the library was very small, (actually almost non-existent – one wall of fiction) or because I did not own any books myself. The reason was that this book spoke to me like no other had before it. I believe that there is at least one book in a child’s life, which has such a profound impact that it stays with them for life. I can picture a generation of “Harry Potter” fans nodding their heads at this statement.
Mary Lennox, The Secret Garden’s protagonist, was with me when I was sad, happy or lost in a daydream. I suspect a little part of her creeps into my lead characters in every story I write. I believe we are drawn to someone we identify with or someone who embraces the qualities we wish we had. Mary was stubborn, and I’ve been called that once or twice, okay, I’ve been called that a lot, but she was also brave, tough and adventurous, all qualities I admired.
Let me know what book/character shaped your childhood.
“Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow”- The Secret Garden