Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 17 & 18 - 2014

Book 17: I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes – 700 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Can you commit the perfect crime? Pilgrim is the codename 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 rundown 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 ruins 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 was a bloody good book! Long, very long, and it requires your full attention, but my, my, it was good! Hayes has put together a very possible, very intense thriller, and created an intriguing, if slightly improbable hero. I actually didn’t pick this book out for myself; a friend recommended it for some strange reason, and I’m yet to find it in the pages of the local newspaper’s culture section, or see it in a bookstore (I borrowed it from the library) but bloody hell, it belongs there.
Ebola seemed to be the word on the street in 2014, with the epidemic in West Africa, and if that had started before I’d started reading this book, I think it would have made it all the more frightening. Still, the idea of a terrorist using medical knowledge that seemed rather easy for him to find, and creating a new, even more deadly, strain of Ebola and then making it airborne and releasing it in America is a very scary possibility, and one that Hayes manages to demonstrate could be all too possible. There’s a part of me that always knew things would turn out okay (very rarely does a book deviate from this ending) but watching Pilgrim try to catch up and matters get more and more dire makes for a very intense read. I also learned a lot about the region of Turkey that the book is predominately set in, which was very fascinating (I always think an author has done a good job if you want to google things they have mentioned to learn more).
I could go on for days, but I think I’d spoil too much, so I’m just going to stay short and sweet – buy, borrow or steal (okay, don’t steal) this book and read it! Dedicate a weekend, and even if the first 100 pages feel like a lot of background, persevere – there’s a reason, and it’s worth it!

17 / 50 books. 34% done!

6293 / 15000 pages. 42% done!

Book 18: A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the Sixth: The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket – 259 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
There is nothing to be found in the pages of A Series of Unfortunate Events but misery and despair. You still have time to choose another international best-seller to read. But if you must know what unpleasantries befall the charming and clever Baudelaire children read on...The Ersatz Elevator is the sixth instalment in A Series of Unfortunate Events in which Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire encounter a darkened staircase, a red herring, friends in a dire situation, three mysterious initials, a liar with an evil scheme, a secret passageway and parsley soda.

This Unfortunate Events book introduces the character of Esme, and reintroduces, briefly, the Quagmire triplets (of which there is only two). Esme is weird, and her husband pathetic, and the idea of a baby climbing an elevator shaft with her teeth makes me cry for my dentist, but it’s a charming enough story, and I can’t help but really feel for the poor Baudelaire kids. A quick, fun read, that manages to keep one engaged with the story now that things are finally starting to develop.

18 / 50 books. 36% done!

6552 / 15000 pages. 44% done!

Currently reading:
-        Sunshine on Sugar Hill by Angela Gilltrap – 310 pages
-        Bones of the Lost by Kathy Reichs – 462 pages
-        A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the Eleventh: The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket – 323 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – 290 pages
Tags: kidlit, lemony snicket, thriller, war

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