I Am Pilgrim

By Terry Hayes,

Book cover of I Am Pilgrim

Book description

The astonishing story of one man's breakneck race against time to save America from oblivion.
A FATHER PUBLICLY BEHEADED. Killed in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square.
A YOUNG WOMAN DISCOVERED. All of her identifying characteristics dissolved by acid.


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Why read it?

10 authors picked I Am Pilgrim as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I struggled to put this book on a crime novel list, but this is one of my favorite books of all time. At its heart, it’s a spy novel. It makes the list because the main character hunts bad agents–the internal affairs of the CIA.

The book opens with a murder crime scene in New York. If you haven’t heard about this book, it’s a true phenomenon. Many times, during book signings, I’ve been asked by readers if I knew of this book and how much they absolutely loved it. More importantly, though, they wanted me to tell them when…

On paper, this book should not make this list. It breaks almost all of the rules people say a good thriller shouldn’t break, with philosophical asides and passages of backstory interrupting the action, among others. Yet the book works, and magnificently.

Terry Hayes has written a gripping global spy thriller that grabs you from the start and never lets go. It’s one of the best and most surprising novels I’ve read in this genre in ages.

It was a powerful and gripping story of what could happen if a terrorist wanted to use serrigan to destroy an American city.

The main character was a super agent – James Bond without a gun as he used his wits to plow through the roadblocks put up by the evil villian (who was almost as smart as him – almost). I did not want this story to end, proven by the fact it took me 5 days to read the last 5 pages and I felt sad when  the story did come to end.

I did learn a…

I read this book several years ago, but on impulse I picked it up again recently. Several hours later I found myself still glued to my chair, completely immersed in the secret, terrifying world Hayes created for his protagonist Scott Murdoch, aka Pilgrim.

The book is hard to put down, even the second time around, and for the next several days (it’s a long book) I returned to it at every spare moment until I reached the last page.

Pilgrim is an inspired character, supremely accomplished and confident but also haunted by his past. He uses every fiber of his…

This is the best thriller I've read in 5 years. I read this book in one go as I could not put it down. 

The plot revolves around bioterrorism and is fantastic and complex. I loved that I couldn't see how all the pieces would meet back up, and how they tie together in the end is perfection. 

Plus, the writing is brilliant, and the main character feels real (something often lacking in spy thrillers). This is as good or better than Vince Flynn, Tom Clancy, and David Baldacci. 

This book is long and complicated. With an expansive plot that doesn’t overwhelm or convoluted.

One of its great strengths is the accurate depiction of investigative techniques. I especially enjoyed seeing how espionage has changed since the cold war. It also draws attention to the problem of dealing with adversaries willing to die for their cause.

I also appreciated the objective treatment of the Muslim community and some insights into the causes of Muslim extremism.

To date, no movie or TV show has been made from Hayes' novel, but I'd drop everything if that happened.

Don't let its length—624 pages—keep you from reading it. It'll be over too soon. The protagonist, Scott Murdoch, is a former member of The Division, a U.S. agency that investigates wrongdoing by other intelligence agencies. After leaving the Division, Murdoch, using a pseudonym, wrote a forensic investigative handbook that has made him a law enforcement superstar.

He's drawn into the investigation of a murdered woman, dismembered and put into an acid bath in a Brooklyn hotel, by Ben Bradley, an…

While this novel follows a standard thriller trope of hunter and hunted, it’s like no other on this list, not being an especially realistic depiction of the spy world. So why did it make my list? The most compelling hook I’d read in years, combined with killer pacing and fascinating sleuthing detail. Here’s the setup: The body of a woman is found in a seedy New York hotel room floating face-down in a bathtub filled with sulfuric acid, impossible to identify. The protagonist, a former intelligence agent and forensic pathologist must hunt down an unknown Saudi terrorist. Is the writing…

As a military fiction author, I frequently look for other authors whose style speaks to me in terms of pacing, story progression, character & story arcs, drama vs action, and of course overall quality of the story. As a man who was raised on my dad’s Tom Clancy novels, who has lived to fight directly in the world of Special Operations combat, and who loves nothing more than a good hero story, I Am Pilgrim is to this day the best novel that I have ever read. Bar none.

This story is more of a spy novel than a direct…

This book took me completely by surprise. I’d never heard of it, nor was I familiar with the author. It was one of those books that’s like finding a pot of gold. The pacing is excellent; the character development unique and well done. I found this book to be quite different, and engrossing, for reasons I cannot describe. Be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart.

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