Author: Terry Hayes
Genre: Thriller/ Spy
Blurb: 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 often read for entertainment, the way I used to watch TV. I choose a book with and interesting enough premise, read, and rarely (if ever) think about again.
This is not one of those books. I found this book in an effort to broaden my horizons. I typically don't chose thrillers and I can't say that I'm especially drawn to spy novels. I was on the fence about reading it at all. If I'm honest, the title is what ultimately made my decision (hehe).
I read for entertainment so this book more than delivered in that aspect. A compelling story, several red herrings, cliched by not predictable. As a novel however, I wasn't moved. There were a few cringe-inducing tropes. I understand that this takes place in the years immediately following 9/11, but some of the themes associated with that made me squirm a little in my chair.
Without giving too much away, there were some far-fetched coincidences that were explained away in a kismet 'everything led to this moment' kind of way. Reading the book felt like a watching an action movie. Later explained when I found out that though this is Terry Hayes' debut novel, he is an accomplished screenwriter, having been screenwriter for Mad Max, Dead Calm and Payback. If you enjoyed those films, I'm sure that you will enjoy the book. I am patiently waiting for this to become a movie.
Recommendation: Anyone going on vacation and wants an engaging plane read or anyone that is a fan of the Jason Bourne/Mission Impossible franchises.