The Accidentby Chris Pavone
From the author of the New York Times-bestselling and Edgar Award-winning The Expats
As dawn approaches in New York, literary agent Isabel Reed is turning the final pages of a mysterious, anonymous manuscript, racing through the explosive revelations about powerful people, as well as long-hidden secrets about her own past. In/b>/i>/i>
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From the author of the New York Times-bestselling and Edgar Award-winning The Expats
As dawn approaches in New York, literary agent Isabel Reed is turning the final pages of a mysterious, anonymous manuscript, racing through the explosive revelations about powerful people, as well as long-hidden secrets about her own past. In Copenhagen, veteran CIA operative Hayden Gray, determined that this sweeping story be buried, is suddenly staring down the barrel of an unexpected gun. And in Zurich, the author himself is hiding in a shadowy expat life, trying to atone for a lifetime’s worth of lies and betrayals with publication of The Accident, while always looking over his shoulder.
Over the course of one long, desperate, increasingly perilous day, these lives collide as the book begins its dangerous march toward publication, toward saving or ruining careers and companies, placing everything at risk—and everyone in mortal peril. The rich cast of characters—in publishing and film, politics and espionage—are all forced to confront the consequences of their ambitions, the schisms between their ideal selves and the people they actually became.
The action rockets around Europe and across America, with an intricate web of duplicities stretching back a quarter-century to a dark winding road in upstate New York, where the shocking truth about the accident itself is buried.
Gripping, sophisticated, layered, and impossible to put down, The Accident proves once again that Chris Pavone is a true master of suspense.
The contents of The Accident, a manuscript submission by an anonymous author, shock New York literary agent Isabel Reed, the heroine of Pavone's high-wire thriller—his second novel after 2012's well-received The Expats. Isabel worries that the revelations of this nonfiction work about Charlie Wolfe, a global media baron (think Rupert Murdoch crossed with Charles Foster Kane), pose a real danger. Her fears prove well founded as ruthless, powerful forces do whatever it takes to prevent the book's publication. The cold-blooded murder of someone close to Isabel is but the first of many. The cast of distinctive characters includes Hayden Gray, a Berlin-based "cultural attaché" (i.e., spy), who orchestrates the effort to reclaim the manuscript; Camilla Glyndon-Browning, a subsidiary-rights director who tries to shop it to Hollywood; and, of course, the anonymous author himself. Despite the far-fetched conceit, Pavone makes the story credible, and the suspense is palpable. Agent: David Gernert, Gernert Company. (Mar.)
Pavone follows up his best-selling novel, The Expats (2012), with another thriller featuring some of the same characters. The action here involves a manuscript entitled The Accident, which threatens to bring down a media empire owned by Charlie Wolfe, who now aspires to a political career. While in college, Charlie had a night of drunken revelry, and he and his friend Dave, the sober designated driver, had an accident involving the death of a girl, one that implicated Charlie. Preston Wolfe, Charlie's powerful father and a former deputy director of the CIA, covered up the accident and for 25 years paid Dave off to keep his mouth shut. Although, over the years, Dave earned a cool $1 million from this deal, he began to feel guilty and so wrote the explosive manuscript. Charlie suspects that Dave's manuscript is in part a conspiracy to create a scandal and bring down the share prices for the Wolfe empire, bankrupting Wolfe and also creating a larger circle of scandal involving murky political doings over the course of Charlie's career. Frightened for his life and knowing that Charlie wants to hunt him down, Dave fakes his own suicide and changes his identity. Meanwhile, literary agent Isabel Reed recognizes the volatility of what Dave has written and is extremely careful with the manuscript, but despite her best efforts, a few more hard copies start to circulate. One is with Jeffrey Fielder, an editor and Isabel's best friend, and another is briefly "borrowed" from Fielder's desk, copied and then shopped for movie rights by sexy Camilla Glyndon-Browning. Almost everyone physically connected with the manuscript starts getting killed in Charlie's desperate attempt to quash this exposé of his past. Pavone knows the formula for a best-seller and keeps the reader turning the pages.
“[Pavone is] a reliable new must-read in the world of thrillers. . . . You will want to finish The Accident at a nice, rapid clip to see how [the] pieces come together. . . . Unputdownable.” —The New York Times
“A taut, bookish thriller.” —People
“If you like real nail-biters, this is the best one so far this year. . . . Couldn’t put the damn thing down.” —Stephen King, on Twitter
“Savvy. . . . [With] plenty of swift action and sudden twists.” —Wall Street Journal
“Smart and stylish. . . . Thrill-a-minute. . . . The Accident never stumbles as it confidently and most entertainingly barrels forward toward shocking revelations and a bombshell of a finish.” —Chicago Tribune
“A must-read…gripping.”—USA Today
“Chris Pavone is the new best thing. The Accident proves the promise of The Expats. It is as intelligent and timely as it is relentless and gripping. Pavone is going to be around for a long time and now is the time to jump on the train.” —Michael Connelly
“A fast-paced, airport-ready thriller. . . . Pavone writes well about the politics of modern publishing.” —Entertainment Weekly
“The thriller-of-the-year. . . . Pavone’s characters seem genuine, with some flaws in the good guys and some virtues in the bad guys.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Maximum enjoyment at maximum speed.”—Dallas Morning News
“A sly globetrotting spy thriller that gives new meaning to publish or perish.” —Family Circle
“A propulsive A-train of a thrill ride and worthy successor to Pavone’s debut.” —Los Angeles Times
“A fast-paced, dangerous ride. . . . That intricate plot [propels you] forward, twisting and turning right up to its final, ultimately satisfying conclusion.” —Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“A clever, sophisticated mystery.”—Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
“[Pavone] has outdone himself with this amazing thriller. . . . Full of constant surprises [The Accident] is jam-packed with everything from media moguls to conspiracies. This is a truly great read!” —Suspense Magazine
“Tantalizing. . . . With terrific surprises and high-quality writing in this engaging thriller.” —Associated Press
“Marvelous. . . . The deft plot globetrots and en route provides glamorous locales as well as twisty turns in suspense.” —New York Daily News
“A high-wire thriller featuring a Wolfe-ian cast of characters.” —Vogue.com
“[A] high-wire thriller. . . . The suspense is palpable.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Pavone’s plot twists tirelessly, shifting focus among a large cast of well-drawn characters. . . . many readers will read this one through the night.” —Booklist (starred review)
“[An] engaging thriller, driven by compelling portraits of desperate characters.” —Library Journal
“Pavone knows the formula for a best-seller and keeps the reader turning the pages.” —Kirkus
“Chris Pavone's many fans will not be disappointed with The Accident, his fast-paced, twisting, smart follow-up to The Expats. Cleverly plotted, filled with surprises, a terrific read.” —William Landay, New York Times bestselling author of Defending Jacob
“The world of book publishing has never been more perilous or mesmerizing than in Chris Pavone’s dizzyingly good follow-up to The Expats. The dark eruption of long-buried secrets, complex betrayals further snagged by sex and greed, and eleventh-hour desperate gambits for reinvention all propel a whirlwind story that will keep you up way past your bedtime. Crafty, stylish, satisfying.” —Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife
“Clever, sophisticated, and propulsive. I am constantly awed by Chris Pavone's writing. He's already one of the best in the thriller business.” —Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Paranoia and Suspicion
Praise for The Expats
"Sly. . . . Pavone strengthens this book with a string of head-spinning revelations in its last pages. . . . The tireless scheming of all four principals truly exceeds all sane expectations.” —The New York Times
“Bombshell-a-minute. . . . Pavone creates a fascinating, complicated hero.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A gripping spy drama and an artful study of the sometimes cat-and-mouse game of marriage.” —Family Circle
“Smartly executed. . . . Pavone is full of sharp insights into the parallels between political espionage and marital duplicity. . . . Thoroughly captivating.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Superb. . . . [Pavone] expertly draws readers along with well-timed clues and surprises. . . . An engineering marvel.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Expertly and intricately plotted, with a story spiraling into disaster and a satisfyingly huge amount of double-crossing, The Expats certainly doesn’t feel like a first novel. This is an impressively assured entry to the thriller scene.” —The Guardian (London)
“Refreshingly original. . . . Part Ludlum in the pacing, part Le Carré in the complexity of story and character, but mostly Chris Pavone. . . . A thriller so good that you wonder what other ideas [Pavone] has up his cloak, right alongside the obligatory dagger.” —The Star-Ledger
“Amazing. . . . Impossible to put down. . . . Pavone invokes memories of the great writers of spy fiction of the past, and he has the chops to be mentioned with the best of them.” —Associated Press
“A blast. . . . Pavone is spinning a fantastic tale with action that spans the globe.” —Dallas Morning News
“Highly entertaining.” —Mystery Scene
“Thoroughly enjoyable.” —Suspense Magazine
“Hard to put down.” —San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Stunningly assured. . . . An intricate, suspenseful plot that is only resolved in the final pages.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Brilliant, insanely clever, and delectably readable.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Meticulously plotted, psychologically complex. . . . The sheer amount of bombshell plot twists are nothing short of extraordinary, but it’s Pavone’s portrayal of Kate and her quest to find meaning in her charade of an existence that makes this book such a powerful read.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Impressive. . . . With almost more double-crosses than a body can stand.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“Bristling with suspense and elegantly crafted, The Expats introduces a compelling and powerful female protagonist you won't soon forget. Well done!” —Patricia Cornwell
“I often thought I was again reading the early works of Ken Follett, Frederick Forsyth, and Robert Ludlum. Smart, clever suspense, skillfully plotted, and a lot of fun to read.” —John Grisham
“One of the best-written spy thrillers I've ever read. . . . A riveting story of great-game deceptions wrapped inside the smaller deceptions of marriage. At moments horrifying, hilarious, and very wise, The Expats has given Chris Pavone a permanent place on my short list of must-read authors.” —Olen Steinhauer
“A gem. Clever, suspenseful with a jet fueled story that rockets from one corner of the globe to another, it is never less than a thrill a minute. . . . An absolute winner!” —Christopher Reich
“Spy stories need to budge over to make space for Kate Moore—mother, wife, expat and far more than she appears. I loved her.” —Rosamund Lupton
“Riveting. One of the most accomplished debuts of recent years: not just a worthy addition to the literature of espionage and betrayal, but a fine portrait of a marriage disintegrating under the pressure of secrets and lies.” —John Connolly
Pavone's second novel (after his Edgar Award-winning thriller The Expats) follows several people in the publishing industry as they handle a manuscript that promises tremendous personal gain but, as some soon learn, at risk of death. Isabel Reed, a divorced literary agent, has received a manuscript that promises to be a blockbuster. If true, the book will destroy the career of wealthy media mogul Charles Wolfe, about to launch a political career. He is prepared to have his henchman, Berlin cultural attaché and rogue CIA agent Hayden Gray, kill anyone who gets in his way. Jeff Fielder, also divorced and long enamored of Isabel, is an editor in need of a career-changing book. His boss, deeply in debt, faces a buyout by Wolfe's company. A subsidiary rights director has stolen a copy of the manuscript and heads to Hollywood with visions of grandeur. All are in great danger, not to mention the anonymous author, who may have to "die" twice to survive! VERDICT Fans of popular fiction (not just thriller lovers) and all those interested in the inner workings of the publishing world will have a terrific time reading this engaging thriller, driven by compelling portraits of desperate characters, each of whom will come to wonder if the manuscript in hand is worth the cost. [See Prepub Alert, 9/30/13.]—Ron Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson
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Read an Excerpt
It’s just before dawn when Isabel Reed turns the final sheet of paper. Halfway down the page, her mouth falls open, her heartbeat quickens. Her eyes dart across each typescript line at a rapid-fire pace, accelerating as she moves through the final paragraph, desperate to arrive at a revelation, to confirm her suspicions. She sucks in her breath, and holds that breath, for the last lines.
Isabel stares at the final period, the little black dot of ink . . . staring . . .
She lets out her breath. “My God.” Astounded, at the enormity of the story. Disappointed, at the absence of the confirmation she was hoping for. Furious, at what it means. Terrified, at the dangers it presents. And, above all, heartbroken, at the immensity of the betrayal. Betrayals.
She puts the page down on the fat stack of paper that sits on the bedspread, next to a crumpled soft-pack of cigarettes and an overflowing crystal ashtray, a mildly snarky birthday present from a passive-aggressive colleague. She picks up the manuscript with both hands, flips it over, and uses her thumbs to align the pages. Her hands are trembling. She tries to steady herself with a deep breath, and sets the straightened pile of pages in her lap. There are four words centered at the top of the page:
The Accident by Anonymous
Isabel stares across the room, off into the black nothingness of the picture window on the opposite wall, its severe surface barely softened by the half-drawn shades, an aggressive void invading the cocoon of her bedroom. The room is barely lit by a small bullet-shaped reading sconce mounted over the headboard, aiming a concentrated beam of light directly at her. In the window, the light’s reflection hovers above her face, like a tiny sun illuminating the top of her head, creating a halo. An angel. Except she’s not.
She can feel her body tense and her jaw tighten and her shoulders contract in a spasm of rage. She tries to suppress it, bites her lip, brings herself under the flimsiest tether of control.
Isabel draws aside the bedspread, struggles to a sitting position. It’s been hours since she has shifted her body in any appreciable way, and her legs and back are stiff and achyold, if she had to choose a word for her joints. Her legs dangle over the side of the mattress, her toes searching for the fleece-lined slippers.
Along the wall, long slivers of aluminum shelveshundreds of horizontal feetare filled with neat stacks of manuscripts, their authors’ names written with thick black Sharpie into the sides of the stacks of pages. Tens of thousands of pages of proposed books of every sort, promising a wide assortment of entertainment and information, produced with a broad range of skill levels.
These days, everyone younger than Isabel seems to read manuscripts and proposals on e-readers; quite a few of those older, too. But she feels uncomfortable, unnatural, sitting there holding a little device in her hands. Isabel is of the generation that’s just old enough to be congenitally uncomfortable with new technologies. When she started her first job, she didn’t have a computer at her desk. A year later, she did.
Maybe next year she’ll start using one of those things, but for now she’s still reading on paper, turning pages, making notes with pens, surrounding herself with stacks of paper, like bricks, bunkered against the relentless onslaught of the future. And for The Accident, she didn’t even have a choice. Because although nearly all of new projects are now delivered to her office electronically, this submission was not.
She shuffles down the hall, through the darkness. Turns on the kitchen lights, and the coffee machineswitched from AUTO-ON, which is set to start brewing an hour from now, to ONand the small television. Filling the silent lonely apartment with humming electronic life.
Isabel had been reading frantically, hoping to discover the one assertion that rang untrue, the single mismatched thread that would unravel the whole narrative, growing increasingly discouraged as page 1 at the office in the morning became page two-hundred-something at home in the evening. She fell asleep sometime after eleven, more than halfway through, then woke again at two, unable to quiet her mind, anxious to get back to it. People in the book business are constantly claiming “I couldn’t put it down” or “it kept me up all night” or “I read it in one day.” This time, all that was true.
So at two a.m. Isabel picked up the manuscript and started reading again, page after page, through the late-late night. Vaguely reminiscent of those days when Tommy was an infant, and she was sleep-deprived, awake in a dormant world. They are very discrete periods, for very specific reasons, when it’s a normal part of life to be awake at four a.m.: it’s for making babies or caring for them, in the small desperate hours when a blanket of quiet smothers the city, but through the moth-eaten holes there’s the occasional lowing of a railroad in New Jersey, the distant Dopplered wail of an ambulance siren. Then the inevitable thump of the newspaper on the doormat, the end of the idea of night, even if it’s still dark out.
Nothing she encountered during the 488 pages seemed false. Now she stares at the anchor’s face on the television, tuned to Wolfe . . . That goddamned son of a bitch . . .
Her anger swells, and she loses control
Isabel cocks her arm and hurls the remote across the kitchen, cracking and splintering against the refrigerator door, clattering loudly to the floor. Then the heightened silence of the aftermath, the subdued thrum of a double-A battery rolling across the tile, the impotent click as it comes to rest against a baseboard.
She feels tears trickling down her cheek, and wipes them away.
The coffee machine hisses and sputters the final drops, big plops falling into the tempered glass. Isabel glances at the contraption’s clock, changing from 5:48 to 5:49, in the corner of the neatly organized counter, a study in right angles of brushed stainless steel. Isabel is a passionate proponent of perfect alignment. Fanatical, some might say.
She opens the refrigerator door, with its new scratch from the airborne remote, whose jagged pieces she kicks out of her way. She takes out the quart of skim and pours a splash into her mug. She grabs the plastic handle of the carafe and fills the mug with hot, viscous, bitter, bracing caffeination. She takes a small sip, then a larger one. She tops up the mug, and again wipes away tears.
She walks back down the now-lighted hall, lined with the family photographs she’d unearthed when she was moving out of her matrimonial apartment, into this single-woman space in a new neighborhood, far from the painful memories of her homeof her lifedowntown, where she’d been running into too many mothers, often with their children. Women she’d known from the playgrounds and toy stores and mommy-and-me music classes, from the gyms and grocers and coffee shops, from preschool drop-off and the pediatrician’s waiting room. All those other little children growing older, getting bigger, Emmas and Stellas in precious little plaids, Ashers and Amoses with mops of messy curls in skinny jeans on scooters; all those self-satisfied downtown bobo parents, unabashedly proud of their progeny’s precociousness.
She’d bought herself a one-bedroom in a full-service uptown co-op, the type of apartment that a woman chooses when she becomes reconciled that she’s not going to be living with another human being. She had reached that age, that stage, when a lifestyle starts to look permanent: it is what it is, and ever will be, until you die. She was making her loneliness as comfortable as possible. Palliative care.
If she wasn’t allergic to cats, there’d probably be a couple of them lurking around, scrutinizing her disdainfully.
Isabel lined this nice new hallwayparquet floors, ornate moldings, electrical outlets where she wants themwith framed photos. There she is, a smiling little toddler being held aloft by her tragically beautiful mother in Central Park, at the playground near the museum, a couple of blocks from the Classic 8 on Park Avenue that her parents couldn’t actually afford. And then hand-in-hand with her remarkably unambitious father, starting fourth grade at the small-town public school in the Hudson Valley, after they’d finally abandoned the city for their “country place,” the old family estate that they’d been selling off, half-acre parcels at a time, to pay for their life. Then in cap and gown, the high school valedictorian, bound not for Harvard or Yale or even a first-rate state school, but for a second-tiermaybe third?private college upstate, because it offered a full scholarship, including room and board, and didn’t necessitate expensive out-of-state travel. The drive was just a few hours.
Her parents had called her Belle; still do. But once she was old enough to understand what the word meant, she couldn’t bear to lay claim to it. She began to insist on Isabel.
Isabel had intended to go to graduate school, to continue studying American literature, eventually to teach at the university level, maybe. But that plan was formed before she’d had an understanding of the realities of personal finance. She took what she thought would be a short-term job at a publishing houseone of her father’s school chums was a famous editorwith the irrational expectation that she’d be able to save money to pay for school, in a year, or two. She was buoyed by modest success in an enjoyable workplace during good business years, and one thing led to another. Plus she never saved a dime. By the time she was twenty-five, she no longer thought about grad school. Almost never.
So then there she is, in a little black dress on stage at a book-award ceremony, accepting on behalf of her author who was in South America at the time, chasing a new story. And in a big white dress, aglow, in the middle of the panoramic-lens group shot, the thirty-six-year-old bride with her bridesmaids, at her wedding to a man she’d started dating a mere eight months earlier, short on time, perfectly willing to turn a blind eye to his obvious faults, the personality traits that her friends were too supportive to point out, until the safe remove of hindsight.
That utter bastard.
It still amazes her how quickly youth slipped away, how severely her options narrowed. Just a couple of bad relationship decisionsone guy who as it turned out was never going to commit, another who was a closeted assholeand the infinite choices of her late twenties turned into the dwindling selection of her mid-thirties, now saying yes to any non-creepy men who asked her out at parties or introduced themselves in bars, sometimes using her middle name if the guy was on the margins of acceptability and she might end up wanting to hide behind the unstalkable shield of an alias; over the years she’d had more than a few dates with men who thought her name was something else. Half the time, she was glad for the deception.
Another photo, a smaller print, lying in the hospital bed with Tommy in her arms, tiny and red and angry in his striped swaddling blanket and blue cap. Isabel returned to work after the standard three months, but in that quarter-year something had passed, and she was complacent to allow it. Her husband was suddenly making embarrassing amounts of money, so Isabel hired a housekeeper to go with the nanny. She started leading one of those enviable-looking livesa four-day workweek, driving the shiny car from the pristine loft to the shingled beach house, a perfect baby and a rich handsome smart funny husband . . .
She stops at the final photo, spotlit, a small black-and-white in the center of an expanse of stark-white matting. A little boy, laughing on a rocky beach, running out of the gentle surf, wearing water wings. Isabel reaches her hand to her lips, plants a kiss on her fingers, and transfers the kiss to the little boy. As she does every morning.
Isabel continues to the bathroom, unbuttoning her flannel top as she walks, untying the drawstring of the pajama bottoms, which crumple as she releases the knot. She pushes her panties down and steps out of them, leaving a small, tight puddle of cotton on the floor.
The hot shower punishes her tense, tired shoulders. Steam billows in thick bursts, pulled out the bathroom door, spilling into the dressing area, the bedroom. The water fills her ears, drowning out any sounds of the television, of the world. If there’s anything else in her apartment making noise, she can’t hear it.
What exactly is she going to do with this manuscript? She shakes water out of her hair, licks her top lip, shifts her hands, her feet, her weight, standing under the stream, distracted and disarmed, distressed. It all beats down on her, the shower stream and the manuscript and the boy and the past, and the old guilt plus the new guilt, and the new earth-shattering truths, and fear for her career and maybe, now, fear for her life.
She slips into a soft, thick white bathrobe, towel-dries her hair. She sweeps her hand across the steamed-up glass, and examines her tired eyes, bagged and bloodshot, wrinkled at the corners. The bathroom’s high-voltage lighting isn’t doing her any favors this morning. She had long ago become accustomed to not sleeping well, for a variety of reasons. But with each passing year, it has become harder and harder to hide the physical evidence of sleeplessness.
From the other room, she can hear the irrelevant prattle of the so-called news, the piddling dramas of box-office grosses, petty marital indiscretions, celebrity substance abuse. Steam recolonizes the mirror, and she watches big thick drops of condensation streak down from the top beveled edge of the glass, cutting narrow paths of clarity through the fog, thin clear lines in which she can glimpse her reflection . . .
Something is different, and a jolt of nervous electricity shoots through her, a flash of an image, Hitchcockian terror. Something in that slim clear streak has changed. The light has shifted, there’s now a darkness, a shadow
But it’s nothing, she sees, just the reflection of the bedroom TV, more footage of yesterday’s international news, today. Today she has to consider the news in a whole new light. Now and forevermore.
She gets dressed, a sleek navy skirt suit over a crisp white blouse, low heels. The type of office attire for someone who wants to look good, without particularly caring about being fashionable. She blow-dries, brushes her shoulder-length blonde hair, applies makeup. Sets contacts into her hazel eyes. She assesses herselftired-looking, inarguably middle-agedin the full-length mirror, and sighs, disappointed. Three hours of sleep pushes the limit of what makeup can accomplish.
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Meet the Author
CHRIS PAVONE is the author of the New York Times-bestselling The Expats, winner of the Edgar Award. He was a book editor for nearly two decades and lives in New York City with his family.
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This is a really good book!!
3.5/5 I read Chris Pavone's debut novel, an Edgar award winner, The Ex-Pats, last year. The Accident is the title of Pavone's new book.....and it's also the title of the book within the book. Huh? An unnamed author opens the pages of Pavone's book with the last page of his book..."Because if what you are reading is a finished book, printed and bound and distributed into the world, I am, almost certainly, dead." This manuscript has the power to ruin - and everyone wants their hands on it - for very different reasons. From the literary agent who receives the original copy, to other agents, publishers, politicians, journalists and more, including a CIA operative. The Accident reveals more than one crime committed by powerhouse media mogul Charlie Wolfe. The race is on between those determined to bring the book to light - and those just as determined to destroy it. Chris Pavone is a clever, clever writer. He worked for many years as an editor and it shows in his writing. His prose are tight and concise and his story draws the reader in from the first pages and slowly but surely reels them in as another piece of the puzzle is added. The Accident explores the world of publishing and seems to have an added sense of the inside track woven in. I found the opening pages intriguing, but it took me a few chapters to get a handle on all the characters and their motivations. But once I did, I was caught up in the machinations, plotting and intrigue of those determined to have the manuscript. And bit by bit we learn what secret will be revealed if the book is published. Pavone has one last twist up his sleeve before the final pages - one I could not have predicted. Isabel was a wonderfully likable protagonis. Kate from The Expats makes a cameo appearance as well. Pavone has crafted another smart, sharp thriller - one that will keep the reader on their toes, with another connection or revelation made with every chapter.
Enjoyed this page-turner immensely. Chris Pavone is establishing himself as a great writer of intrigue and suspense. This story is original and a worthy follow-up to The Expats, with a couple of characters carrying over from that book to this one. Recommended.
Chris Pavone won the Edgar Award for his first novel last year, The Expats, which I read and enjoyed. It featured Kate, a former CIA operative who moves to Europe with her husband and son and finds herself caught up in a dangerous situation that her nerdy husband created. It was a fast-paced read, with lots of twists and turns, a real page-turner. His newest novel, The Accident, has as one of it's main characters, Hayden, a mysterious CIA operative (is there any other kind?) who worked with Kate in The Expats. (Kate makes a cameo appearance here, which is fun.) Pavone worked in the publishing business, which plays a big role in The Accident. Isabel Reed, a literary agent, receives a mysterious manuscript at her office. It is a biography of media mogul Charlie Wolfe, one of the most powerful people on the planet, who just happens to be planning a Senate run. The author is "Anonymous", and this person has some bombshell revelations about Mr. Wolfe, including the fact that he accidentally killed a college coed and, with his father, a deputy CIA director, and his best friend David, who was with him, got rid of the body. Oh, and he also helped the CIA destroy reputations and influence elections in other countries. It would seem that the author is David, but David committed suicide by flying his plane into the sea after getting a terminal cancer diagnosis. But did he really die? They found the plane, but no body. Hayden is tasked with finding the real author and retrieving every copy of the manuscript that exists. When people who have made copies of the manuscript end up dead, Isabel Reed must go on the run and try to outwit the killer. Just like The Expats, The Accident is a real barn burner. You must be prepared to set aside enough time to read it in one sitting, because you will not be able to put it down. I find it interesting that Pavone writes such fascinating female characters, first Kate, and now Isabel, as the protagonists in his thrillers. They are the real stars of these action-packed novels. If you are interested in the publishing world, Pavone gives you a real insider's look. I only hope that it is not as dangerous as it appears here. In his Acknowledgements, he lists many of the people who don't always get a thank you, including the sales and marketing team, and the copy editors and proofreaders at Crown Publishing, which was a nice touch. Fans of John Grisham will enjoy Pavone's books, as they are heavy on plot twists, with a few jaw-dropping revelations that had me nearly dropping my book. I highly recommend both of Pavone's books, and was happy to see that in this book, I wasn't as confused by the ending as I was by The Expats. I could see both of these books as films, and if they haven't been optioned yet, they should be.
Chris Pavone knows how to keep readers turning the page...or swiping their tablets until the wee hours of the morning. However you read these days, it is well worth your time and dollars to purchase The Accident and Pavone's other spy thrillers. He is at the top of the genre at the moment. Not only is there action from page one, he also has crafted really well thoughtout sentences that you will want to reread for their spot-on observations of some of the little things in life. The Accident is not only action-packed, but it also develops relationships between the characters, sometimes in surprising twists, in a way that has you routing for them to survive--even the bad guys...or who you think might be the bad guy. I have really loved all Pavone's books and enjoy the fact that some of my favorite characters cross over from one story to the next. I can't wait until his next one is released. He has created a new fan of spy novels in me. Victoria Allman Author of: SEAsoned: A Chef's Journey with Her Captain
This was the first Chris Pavone novel I'd read. I enjoyed the premise of the story as well as the characters. I thought it flowed very well. I found myself wanting more time in my day to read the book to discover it's secrets. Good suspenseful book.
Fast paced, interesting throughout. Makes you wonder about what really goes on. Waiting for his next book.
“The Accident” is, nominally, about a manuscript which bears that title, the author shown as “Anonymous.” It is a memoir (perhaps), an expose or unauthorized biography (possibly), of an international media mogul (think Rupert Murdoch), with some little-known (or until now unknown) and potentially ruinous events in his past, most shockingly the one which gives the book its title, the person who wrote it identified only as “the author.” But more importantly, the novel, written with a sly humor, provides an inside look at the publishing industry, in ever greater danger of extinction, that is as fascinating (in a schadenfreude kind of way) as that ostensible main story line. We are told the “the publishing business is a business, and books are published for an audience to buy from bookstores, who buy units from distributors who order cartons from publishers who acquire titles from literary agencies who sign up careers from authors, money changing hands at every transaction.” The book opens with the surveillance of a woman, as yet unnamed, by a man watching a live video feed as she lies in bed, reading, typical of the espionage, literal and figurative, found here. The manuscript, hand-delivered to the office of Isabel Reed, a powerful literary agent in New York, is full of shocking revelations implicating, e.g., various American presidents and CIA directors, and is, almost literally, dynamite, putting those few individuals who are privy to its contents in mortal danger. On the other hand, each of those individuals, initially at least, see in it their salvation. Written from their various points of view, the novel takes the reader from New York to Zurich, Copenhagen and Los Angeles, all of it taking place in a single day, and exposes the staggering machinations which routinely abound in the publishing industry. The reader is treated to brief excerpts from the manuscript, interspersed periodically, as it is read by the players in that select group. With wonderfully well-drawn characters, this is a terrific read, and highly recommended.
Relentlessly cynical, 2-dimensional characters, tasteless ugly violence
Chris Pavone in his new book “The Accident” published by Crown takes us into the life of Isabel Reed. From the back cover: Is this book worth killing for? As dawn approaches in New York, literary agent Isabel Reed is turning the final pages of a mysterious, anonymous manuscript, racing through the explosive revelations about powerful people, as well as long-hidden secrets about her own past. In Copenhagen, veteran CIA operative Hayden Gray, determined that this sweeping story be buried, is suddenly staring down the barrel of an unexpected gun. And in Zurich, the author himself is hiding in a shadowy expat life, trying to atone for a lifetime’s worth of lies and betrayals with publication of The Accident, while always looking over his shoulder. Over the course of one long, desperate, increasingly perilous day, these lives collide as the book begins its dangerous march toward publication, toward saving or ruining careers and companies, placing everything at risk—and everyone in mortal peril. The rich cast of characters—in publishing and film, politics and espionage—are all forced to confront the consequences of their ambitions, the schisms between their ideal selves and the people they actually became. The action rockets around Europe and across America, with an intricate web of duplicities stretching back a quarter-century to a dark winding road in upstate New York, where the shocking truth about the accident itself is buried. Who knew the publishing industry could be so dangerous? Chris Pavone has written a page-turning thriller. Anonymous has written “The Accident”. People who read it are turning up dead. Isabel wants to get it published. Hayden wants it destroyed. Get ready to run across Europe and America s the forces behind this book clash. Maybe a few times you might see what is coming next but that is because you are good. Most times you will be blindsided and you will want to read faster to keep up with the action. Get ready for a very interesting read that will keep you flipping pages. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
If I didn't already know the publishing industry was filled with a bunch of crazy rogues, THE ACCIDENT would have sealed the deal for me. So, of course, I was thrilled with my particular choice. But I digress. What thrilled me to no end were the constant references and insights and foresights into the world of agents and editors and writers that is publishing. Filled with big dreams and even bigger unfulfilled promises, the odds are stacked against you before you even step up to bat. And since nobody in America reads, other than the select few on Goodreads, you can be the next big thing in a country that doesn't read. And as this brilliant novel so aptly proves, you can even get shot or killed or stalked or sued for your trouble, so if you're a writer or a publisher, you've got that to look forward to as well. Again, it's not as wonderful as you might think, because you actually have to have a good bit of luck involved, along with talent and skill, unless you happen to have the next big celebrity reveal stashed in your hip pocket. If you want to know how to maneuver from the A list down to C level, you might want to talk to Jeffrey Fielder, who for a middle-aged man happens to be more gun shy than he's ever been in his life. Or maybe you want to converse with Isabel Reed, who can be seen running through the halls of the ATM agency on her way out of town. Or maybe you'd prefer to take a gander at Camilla Glyndon-Browning, who can rock your world courtesy of the closest bathroom sink. Or maybe you'd like to speak to Alexis, who might be looking for a career change or a step up in an industry filled with plenty of novels and not always the best commissions. If you want to know how to spend your next twenty-fours, you first might want to consider how you shouldn't spend it. What this novel does is give you a whole lot of arguments for shying away from the present predicaments contained within this 402 page heart-pounding thrill ride. It ramps up the tension around every street corner and every neighboring town, and it doesn't really ease off the gas until you're headed across the finish line. So, yeah, you could say I was entertained. I received this book for free through NetGalley. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
This story started well enough setting out a decent plot however, that is where the the disappointment and frustration set in. I have not read a book like this for a long time, abruptly flitting about from character to character and present to past. This for me was very disjointed and did not make for an enjoyable read. It is also very disheartening as the storyline is actually very good with some good twists, but the entertainment is destroyed by the writing style. Isabel Reed is a literary agent presented with a manuscript from an anonymous author. The author has written a revealing account of the life of a media mogul who appears to have friends who will go to extremes to prevent the publication of the book. Who will win the day and what is the truth is such hard work to find out it does not get my recommendation.
THE ACCIDENT by Chris Pavone, is a fast paced and a dangerous ride, within the world of a big time publishing company, a mysterious manuscript, politics, ruthless business, the CIA and a suspenseful murder mystery. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Mozhan Marno--definitely kept me alert while driving. However, with all the characters in different locations and back stories, I found myself rewinding if I missed a part. This was my first book by Pavone (as have heard about his earlier book, THE EXPATS, which I have not read --look forward to reading). The novel alternates between a variety of desperate characters, in the film and publishing business as well as politics, with many power plays and some surprises (no spoilers). An action packed novel about betrayals at all levels and the suspense takes place in 24 hours. The Accident is about an anonymous author who is living in shadows in Copenhagen, trying to atone for a lifetime's worth of lies and betrayals by attempting to get his book published. Isabel Reed, located in NYC and one of the most powerful literary agents--reads an anonymous dark manuscript, (a biography of a media mogul, a potential blockbuster, and people will die if word of its existence leaks). Full of shocking and disturbing truths, holding long buried secrets which would prove a high profile case compromising national security, government agencies, as well as secrets from her past. As the novel progresses, a cast of powerful characters, with flash backs from a number of different locations from Copenhagen, Zurich, Manhattan, Hamptons, to Hollywood. The lives collide between Zurich, the mysterious author, Gray- veteran CIA, and Isabelle --attempting to keep the manuscript low key, trying to find a way to publish with many obstacles along the way, sex and betrayal, including those who want to ensure the book never gets published, and those greedy enough to think they can claim their fame. As the book is closer to publication, everyone is at risk and danger of losing for an engaging and suspenseful thriller. Sounds as though Chris is a talented clever writer, having worked in the business with a sophisticated flair in the high profile publishing business – look forward reading more.
This is a highly readable book, from Chris Pavone. (Until I saw his picture, I thought Chris was short for Christine.) This time he is definitely writing from what he knows, the book business. The suspense continues through every page and there are several twists along the way. Two of the characters from the Expats show up, one much more than the other.
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings What a crazy whirlwind ride that didn't stop turning until the very end! With a crazy cast of characters, I definitely had to chart this one out from an author and the things he set in motion to a publisher, editor and the subject of this book, this book had an interesting combination of thriller rolled into the book publishing world. The publishing aspect of the book was so interesting, to see all of the hands that it takes to get a book from the author into the public's hands and then to add the anonymous author and the thriller aspect was genius. As a book blogger I have an interest in the publishing world and I always find it interesting to read books that center around the business of books.