I Am Pilgrim

I really dislike the Mad Max movies. Which is odd, considering dystopia is my thing. I can read any book about the genre, and most movies, as well. But the Mad Max movies are not my thing. So, when I heard about this book, written by the screenwriter of Mad Max 2 and 3, I was out. No interest. Then I read the plot and reviews. And maybe, just maybe I would check it out. Then a friend raved about it. And harped on me about it. And I caved. 600 pages later, here I am on the other side. I survived.

I love a good thriller. I will read most types, but this one about espionage, catching the Muslim extremist in a post 9/11 world, covert operations, etc just didn’t appeal to me. But the more I read, the more sucked in I got. And I was so impressed with this story. Because something that is mentioned on page 100, that was just a hint, just a tidbit, turned out to be huge later in the book. And that happened a number of times. This is an expertly constructed book.

You never really know the character, in part because his identity shifts so much due to the covert business, but you see who he is deep down. He’s not a heartless man. He isn’t ruthless or cruel. He simply wants to protect people. And unfortunately, he knows you sometimes have to kill people to protect the many. Even when he does, he still takes no joy in what he has done, making him human. And this is the main reason I enjoyed this book. There are so many small events that link together within the novel. Hayes does a great job of tying up all the loose ends as well. Very impressive first stab (pun intended) at a novel from this screenwriter.


Pretty Girls

My online book club selected this for our December book. I have never read anything by Karin Slaughter before, so I had no idea what to expect. I enjoy a good thriller, but this one fell short.

I felt like the main character was able to solve all the problems and put all the pieces together too easily. She wasn’t particularly intelligent given her inability to see people for who they really are, so giving her almost magical powers to fix every mess was a little too miraculous to me.

There were a few pretty awful red herrings as well. I like a good solid red herring, but there has to be character or plot motivation behind it. One in particular in this book just was thrown in for no reason. About halfway through the book, there was a fantastic plot twist that I didn’t see coming at all, which was a pleasant surprise, and I expected more out of the second half of the book, but it went downhill after that. The main character’s mother was just the worst of all. She obviously cared about her children, but not enough to ever be honest with them, and when she is needed the most, she arrives with no questions about the most hairbrained plan of all time. She reminded me of Lucille Bluth.

I gave this one 3 stars, because I did want to keep reading, but I just rolled my eyes too many times at how far fetched the entire book was.

Sharp Objects

I’ve only read one of Gillian Flynn’s books, Gone Girl, and was blown away, like most. And I’ve been meaning to read her other works, but just kept putting it off. So my early New Year’s Resolution is to read books that I’ve been meaning to get to. Since I finished the 2015 book challenge, I figured I might as well get a head start on my 2016 list. And thanks to my library, I have access to them all!

Having read two of Flynn’s books, I’m sold. She’s got what it takes. I will read Dark Places when I get it from the library, and already can’t wait. I knew absolutely nothing about this book other than the title. I’m not even sure I had ever seen the cover. Sometimes this is the best way to enter a book- completely blind. The story follows Camille, a reporter, who is sent back to her small hometown in Missouri to investigate a missing girl.

This book is like an onion of reveal. First there’s a missing girl. Turns out there was another girl murdered a few months before. Camille has issues with her family, to put it mildly, and you are slowly brought into the world of crazy that is her family, former friends, police, and suspects. There are few red herrings, but all are plausible and aren’t distracting to the main plot of “who is behind all the crimes” that you are pulled into.

I really loved this book. Excellent thriller, but not in an overdone way. Camille is seriously flawed, but we understand why. She isn’t just some crazy woman for the sake of the story. There’s depth to her, which makes her even more fascinating. Highly recommend this one!