National Book Awards 2014: Crime/Thriller Book of the Year
Can you commit the perfect crime?
Pilgrim is the code name for a man who doesn't exist. The adopted son of a wealthy American family, he once headed up a secret espionage unit for US intelligence. Before he disappeared into anonymous retirement, he wrote the definitive book on forensic criminal investigation. But that book will come back to haunt him. It will help NYPD detective Ben Bradley track him down. And it will take him to a run-down New York hotel room where the body of a woman is found facedown in a bath of acid, her features erased, her teeth missing, her fingerprints gone. It is a textbook murder - and Pilgrim wrote the book.
What begins as an unusual and challenging investigation will become a terrifying race against time to save America from oblivion. Pilgrim will have to make a journey from a public beheading in Mecca to a deserted ruin on the Turkish coast via a Nazi death camp in Alsace and the barren wilderness of the Hindu Kush in search of the faceless man who would commit an appalling act of mass murder in the name of his god.
This is now the entire audiobook, not in two parts.
©2012 Terry Hayes (P)2013 Random House Audiobooks
I think this book could have been savagely edited to make one whole book, I started listening to a story about a murder in the US and then I was listening to a story about a terrorist in Iran or one of these type countries I had to rewind because I thought I had missed something and I was really disappointed when I realised it was only half a book and it didn't captivate me enough to want to buy the second book. I think this may have had the potential to be a good book if it was finished.
From known to unknown and back again, enough facts to make it real and a story that weaves in and out, Terry Hayes has taken the geo-political reality with which we are familiar and entwined within it a minefield of a murder mystery, a terrorist plot and meticulous, intelligent and intuitive investigators to deliver a non-stop ride. A thriller to lose yourself in. Read it - you won't be disappointed.
I loved this book. Characters are great. The story seems to jump around a little but it all comes together so well. The reading is very well done except for the Aussie accent needs some work.
Starts off with a bang and you’re captured straight away. The mystery of the two stories and how they will combine kept me intrigued the whole time. Then towards the end of the book it comes home like a 'steam train'. I went straight to my laptop to get the second volume as soon as I finished.
So obviously written with one eye on a film deal. Awful. Didn't finish it. Can't even be bothered to write a longer review.
"Where is the rest of the story"
I feel defrauded. Half a story, and I can't even buy the second half.
I have to go and buy the paperback version now.
Give us the WHOLE book. I'm happy to pay for it, but it's not even available.
Hoe can you release half a book?
Loving the story, Disappointed in Audible
Warn purchasers that it is only half of the story, and the other half isn't available
"Why is it not the whole book?"
Why I was not told it was just half the book, where is the volume 2?
The plot was fantastic, but very sad it stopped when it did. I would like to know when volume 2 is available so I can write the review it deserves.
I don't tend to remember the narrators names, but will keep an ear out for Christopher
None, I would just like to listen to volume 2.
I would like to know when volume 2 is available and why it has been chopped in half? without revealing this to very loyal customers. I feel a little pissed off as I am very keen to know what happens. He is an Australian author so not quite understanding why it is not all available.
"WHERE IS VOLUME 2?"
Audible should make the buyer aware that only half the book is available to download before they download the first half. Who reads half a book? Its available on the uk site. What, are we expected to sign up there and pay them too? Shoddy service audible!
One of the best books I have read! Could not put it down. Highly recommend it
Well written. A great story that keeps you reading on and on for more info.
"Great story but share Audible frustration"
Great story but I share other reviewers' frustrations that I bought half a book. I do feel Audible pulled a bit of a fast one by selling what is one book in paperback as 2 separate volumes on Audible. A bit underhanded.
Regarding story, it is great. There is a strange first person approach by the author. Telling the story as he knows it but providing details that he couldn't possibly have been exposed to. I found that a bit hard to overlook but everything else was excellent.
"Surprisingly bland and cliched"
Having read the generally positive reviews about the story, I was surprised at how dull and poorly written it is. This is just my opinion and perhaps I've been spoiled by reading a lot of John le Carre, etc recently (I really wasn't expecting a le Carre style thriller believe me), but I was amazed at the lack of imagination. The plot just feels like a bad action movie, filled with predictable events, endless cliches and cardboard cut-out characters...it came as no surprise when the events of 9/11 surfaced in the plot. It doesn't help that the main character has no discernible personality and continuously references his superior skills. I really wanted to like this book but found so much not to like - the wooden dialogue (which often just serves as exposition), cliched characters (with a long and fairly tedious back story to each one), cliched locations, strongly racist overtones (it's pretty clear the author does not like the middle-east), female characters who always seem to have great cleavage, 'wide, beautiful eyes' and 'a perfectly curved mouth' or some such. After a point I'm afraid I just couldn't listen to anymore. Maybe it gets significantly better later on, but I doubt it was ever going to swing it for me.
Based on this, no
I did find the narration fairly corny but to be honest it suits the style of the story, so I don't know that anyone else would do a better job. He does a particularly poor job with the female characters though!
Irritation, and boredom at times. There were moments of interest but these were always let down by the poor characterisation.
I think it's unfair that the book is sold in two parts, especially given that it is not a great novel in the first place. That said, I couldn't get through part one anyway.
"Predictable page turner"
I doubt it. If they had an exhausting job and wanted to listen to something unchallenging on their way home from work then maybe. The literary equivalent of a Bruce Willis movie.
Something that's particularly unfortunate is the casual racism throughout the book towards Islam sometimes bordering on being stomach turning. Also the author manages to spread his right wing agenda by various unsubtle means, the most glaring of which was explaining what a great guy the American president was because he was against unions.
Essentially a long list of cliches borrowed from film and books, a man, reluctantly brought out of retirement because he's "the best", previously of some ultra secret black ops unit, in order to save America, his boss, "the whisperer" who sounds like Clint Eastwood with a sore throat as his handler, agrees to his hair brain scheme because "it just might work"...etc etc.
He was ok.
There's better, much better.
Expansive mystery with lots of background.
The plot was filled with background stories about all the characters. It was clear the author hoped to have all these various incidents somehow come together in the end, which they do. Unfortunately, this abundance of character information does not make the central plot about a threat to America any more original or interesting than many other books in the genre. The book is very well written and entertaining throughout, but one always has the feeling that one's heard it all before. The author is Australian and it shows, with more than the usual number of passing references to Australia, which is fine. However, the main character is American and little things in the book are obvious Australianisms, like "ring off" instead of "hang up" or "call around" instead of "stop by." It's a little bit annoying and the American editor should be taken to task for not picking up on it. In the end, this book reads like a movie with all the parts left in that won't be there when they do make a film of it.
Unfortunately for an audio book the narrator was the worst thing about this selection. His reading is fine, and he's very listenable. However, he is way too youthful to sound like the main character, which rendered the first person narrative wholly unbelievable. It's not the narrator's fault he was totally mis-cast. Also, his Australian accent was laughably bad. His foreign accents were no more authentic. If the producers of this audio book wanted to turn the book into a cartoon, they succeeded by using this narrator.
No. I did, however, listen to it with interest and I did not listen to anything else at the same time. It kept me entertained for about 5 days.
"How does this story end ?"
I Am Pilgrim captures the interest of the listener. A combination of excellent story & gifted
Narration. Now, on tenterhooks we wait for the next volume to see how the story ends.
"Less stars because 2nd book to required!!"
American hero who is wonderful at everything but entertainingly so, lots of rambling subplots that will, I presume, all come together brilliantly. UNFORTUNATELY I must presume because I find that I have buy a second volume to complete the story!! first volume is not a stand alone book!
Not made clear at the time of purchase - naughty practice Audible two credits required,
you could be losing a loyal long time customer.
Would I have to go to see two films?
"Insulting pricing policy, misogynistic plot"
Really expected more from this, it's mock 90s Frederick Forsyth spy thriller where the Americans are heroes the 'Arabs' are all villains and the Europeans are complicit or prostitutes depending on gender. Some very offencive stereotypes, and early scene of the innocent daughter of a Swiss banker being threatened with rape and death by the US government is really unpleasant but seems to have been written as if the reader will totally understand that the ends justify the ends. To reach the 10 hour mark and be told that you need to pay another credit to finish the story is high arrogance... I will not be finishing the story.
"Shallow, uninteresting, predictable"
This is supposed to be some great new age spy thriller. The narrative is so shallow and the characters so unengaging. The main character is supposed to have risen to the top of his profession, but it just feels like the plot just conveniently gives him the right answers when he needs them, or he is put in the right place when he needs to be. It is frankly unbelievable, in the way that James Bond used to be. And the guy who is reading it is trying very hard to sound as if he is not trying very hard to sound like Tom Cruise; his breathy and deep voices sound vaguely comical, and after a while call I could think of was his voice sounding like it would be more suited for The Muppets. And that is where this is probably best aimed, boys up to the age of about 13, but given the rather graphic violence, I wonder exactly who it is really aimed at. Oh, and you might like to know that this is "Volume 1" meaning that you'll need to spend another credit to listen to the second half of this story, that is if you can be bothered. Ten hours of my life I'm not going to get back.
Yes, if he learned how to give characters substance, to create engaging situations and stop thinking that we need to hear all the name dropping of luxury goods. In other words, No.
Yes, it was only ten hours long
This is actually half a book and it is frankly misleading to imply anything else. At the end of volume 1, no plot lines have been resolved. The only way to make anything of this story would be to listen to the second volume, and spend another credit.
"Please don't download! Worst story I've heard"
Completely rewrite the plot, it starts off relatively interesting but then completely goes off the beaten track with tangent off the tangent. I can't even now really tell you what the plot was about even now. It reads like a bad HBO show, excessive descriptions of sex and violence detract from the plot itself. Not what you need on the commute in to work.
Not if it continues in the same vein as I Am Pilgrim.
The Narrator is the best thing about this, he's clear and easy to understand excusing his accents and voices. His depiction of female characters seems a little absurd and almost funny at times.
The main character? I'm not sure he even had a name.
This is split in 2 parts. I'd generally avoid getting titles that are split on audible they nearly always seem unresolved and are terrible value for money when you break it down. Plotlines seem seldom resolved at the end of the 1st half too.
"Childish and self absorbed"
Anyone that can portray a female without making her sound like a sex call worker
"Bit of a con splitting it into two books..."
Far-fetched, fast-paced and light reading...
I thought it was OK as a story goes. It's along the lines of many well worn espionage thrillers and reminded me of a series of 24, all style and no real substance. It's good entertainment and I enjoyed it. I thought it was well read and it's not too heavy going (to say the least). Would I read another one if the main character was revised? Maybe, but ultimately, it's the kind of book you read and forget about.
This was recommended by a friend but I found it too far fetched and there was one particular part near the end when I thought this would never happen. I wad disappointed.
Jaqueline Winspear's new Maisie Dobbs book
not for me
"Bigoted and Simplistic!"
A bigoted tale with a literary value slightly less than the average phone-book.
A tale of heroic American Christians in a world with moronic Europeans and evil Muslims.
The book belongs at a time of Bush-Patriotism. Its comparison of "twin-tower heroism" and bloodthirsty Muslims is sadly nauseating.
The description of the world makes the author seem like a teenager who has never left his home in some US backwater. It is rather shocking that Terry Heyes can come up with this after more than half a century on this planet.
The narrator does not help. Mr. Ragland renders all Arabs with a terrible Slavic accent and uses quite possibly the worst Australian accent in recorded history. Mr. Ragland's attempt at a tough-guy voice sounds like someone struggling with constipation.
Unlikely, I found the range and 'accents' of his various characters rather limited and hard to distinguish from each other
All the stuff about how the president got to be president for a start.
I bought this to listen to on holiday, to fill down-time gaps. Even for this undemanding role it was at best 'just about OK'. The books seems to be confused as to what genre it wants to be. It starts off as a basic whodunit - body in hotel room, mysterious circumstances etc. Then becomes a memoir of 'my time as a spy', followed by a rather self-indulgent bit about what an awful life the protagonist had as a fostered kid. Then it becomes a long-winded tale about how a young Saudi becomes a terrorist and what he sets out to do. Then it becomes something of a political drama, with all the Washington in-fighting of politicians. Interspersed in all this is a lot of stuff about how awful 9/11 was and how brave lots of Americans were that day And to be honest it doesn't do any of these particularly well.
The writing is inconsistent and unsophisticated in a lot of places. The 'shock-horror' aspects (what the terrorist plans to do, how he accesses the secret lab. etc) are not that original and rather derivative. But I ploughed through it waiting to find out how it all ends - only to realise towards the end of the book it doesn't end at all. The various strands of the book barely touch each other but we are left in the last chapter with what, I guess, is supposed to be a teaser of how they might begin to in the next book. I felt cheated that, having had to push myself to get through the book in places, I was left without any kind of resolution - other than to buy the next book. Something I will certainly not be doing!
Among the very best.
Pilgrim, as written in the first person, I enjoyed his character and cared about the outcome.
Too many to choose from, all good.
Only the common complaint of other reviewers "why two books?"
Also, why is this book not in Audibles short list, I definitely would've voted for it!!
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