After watching Dublin effortlessly dispatch Monaghan in the quarter final of the All Ireland Championship over in my parents’ house last weekend, we began chatting after some tasty fish cakes my Mother had prepared. I mentioned that I was reading a book that I thought Pop would absolutely love. Just as I was beginning to wax lyrical about “I Am Pilgrim”, he instantly recognised it. Silly me, it was he who had recommended it to me in the first place! Which got me thinking about how I need to start jotting down how each book gets on my list and not just scribble the author and title into my Evernote App. In fact, the entire process through which I filter books onto my reading list has become increasingly important. With so little time to get through everything, I need to ensure my system is for purpose. Pop remarked how he had already pre-ordered Hayes’s “The Year of the Locust: A Thriller” on his Kindle.
Being a straight up thriller, Hayes’s 2014 “I Am Pilgrim” will not change the world. For what it is, it is wonderful. The central character Pilgrim is one of the great action heroes. Think Bruce Wayne meets Jason Bourne meets The Count of Monte Cristo (another book that Pop advised as an adolescent) and you are in the rough vicinity.
He is mysterious, intelligent and street smart. The language is gritty and realistic, redolent of that in a George Pelecanos novel. As Pilgrim says, “In the world in which I dealt there were no appeals and no last-minute stays of execution”.
It is quite a long read, but no chapter or page is superfluous. The pace at which Hayes moves the story along is perfect. Right from the mysterious murder of a drugged-up woman in a dingy motel, it never lets up. If you have a reading list, get this on there. If you do not, get to a library or book shop as soon as you can. This one is not to be missed. I have just added “The Year of the Locust” into my Evernote…