Terry Hayes (2013) I Am Pilgrim.

I am pilgrim.jpg

I am not a pilgrim. I am pillock. I read 84 pages, or section one, of  700 pages. I didn’t stick with it to find out how former FBI agent Jude Garret published in-house, as a  front for the FBI, a book that he didn’t expect anyone to read about forensics; how this related to the pathology of crime and how what goes around comes around. A feeling I know well. But guess what? On page one, someone has read that book by Jude Garret, and it’s a woman. Jude knows enough about crime scenes that he can shock his friend NYPD homicide detective Lieutenant Ben Bradley and separate the dross from the drossets.  Then he goes backwards in time to being a poor-little rich kid, with no real friends and an interest in recreational drug use. But he turns out to be a natural. The Tiger Woods of FBI work. He quickly works out his mentor that runs the London desk is double crossing the Yankie Doodle. He’s selling secrets to the Russians. Young Tiger soon takes care of business. But when the FBI bring him home it’s not all tickertape and roses. They isolate him and grill him big time. But he doesn’t go pissing in the woods. He hangs in there. That gets him the highest award in the service, a phone call from the President. Hey Tiger, you did good.

Quick change, then Tigers in charge of the London office. But it’s not all shopping at Harrods and drinking lukewarm tea. Somebody stinks and Tiger decided to find out who. He needs to bend the rules a bit. Kidnap a bank executive’s daughter and have her scream ‘Please daddy’, on the phone. That gets him the information he needs to root out the rat and save the service. He gives the go-ahead for a hit team to kill Christos Nikolade in Santorini, but it’s nothing personal, but that’s not the way some would see it. There’s a failed covert op in Bodrun. Even a Buddhist monk travelling down the river with him looking into  his soul and saying ‘easy Tiger’. Jude Garret need not quit being Jude Garret, because that’s not his real name.

Nobody is really sure who he is or whom he’s working for and that’s the most dangerous way to be. Tiger knows that more than most. So when his rich parents conveniently die and leave him with a bigger pension pot than Tony Blair he know someone’s out to get him. He’s got an escape hatch in his house and when he slides down the pole and escapes like Batman, he expects the bullet or the noose, but it’s the NYPD let loose and a meeting with his old friend and new friend Ben Bradlely.  But it’s not just Tiger needs to get back onside and into the game, the Twin Towers meant the US had been damaged and shamed. It hadn’t happened, not on his watch, but he felt responsible anyway, especially with those traitorous French not showing respect and laughing at the television loop of planes crashing into the building. Tiger admits that he feels like shooting them. But he doesn’t of course. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if he doesn’t like it, he’ll shove it.   Tiger will make those that…

Terry Hayes is a former screenwriter. I read that in the blurb. The pages whir and something happens in every chapter. It’s a book I left lying for a few weeks and picked up. And another few chapters whizz by. I guess I’ll wait for the blockbuster film – and I’ll not watch that either. Nothing personal. We just like what we like.

2 thoughts on “Terry Hayes (2013) I Am Pilgrim.

    1. I don’t think I’ve ever saved anybody from anything, well, apart from that time I saved my mate from eating a full kebab, but that was only because I wanted a bit. As a former spook you’ll know how this world works. But if you take out all the boring bits of listening to the Russians listening to you for twelve hours a day, I guess it wouldn’t make a very good book.


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