I don't read a ton of spy thrillers. It's a genre that I always seem to enjoy but very few of them actually stick with me. I Am Pilgrim might be one of the few thrillers that will stick with me far after finishing the book. For one thing it's one of the longest thrillers of this type I've ever read. Like I said not my favorite genre but series like Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp series usually "rapp" (see what I did there) up in half the time. That keeps action tight and the plot line less susceptible to big gaping holes.
First things first Terry Hayes did a fantastic job writing this book. Its polished and well thought out from start to finish. Some of the twists and turns that he thinks up in this novel are brilliant. One of my small gripes is that there's a little to much preachy American rah rah for my taste. Not only do we get some tragic 9/11 stories but there's a distinct difference between how he portrays American's taking non-American lives and vice versa. An odd dichotomy that pops up a couple of times.
There are two big plot lines that run together from the very start of the novel to the end. One is a murder that takes place in New York. The other is a terrorist planning to drop small pox into the United States. Through these two cases we learn a lot about the main character Pilgrim and his many personas. His childhood, his adopted parents, and some of his bigger cases. His past is probably more interesting then the case he is on. I expect if this becomes a series more of these past cases will come into light.
When I got to the last quarter of the book I really kicked my reading into high gear. I started making time to read the book. Things started to move a lot faster and the twists kept coming. There were times that Pilgrim would say what would happen but I couldn't figure out how or why he would have that outcome. What I appreciated even more was that once things resolve the book doesn't end. His wounds are not magically healed. He has to deal with things. He's not invincible.
I Am Pilgrim is one of the better thrillers I've read in a long time. For a lengthy read it keeps a good pace and never gets boring. I really hope Hayes makes this into a series. It would make for a great annual summer read.