Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Accident by Chris Pavone

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.

This fast-paced thriller centered around the possible publication of a shocking biography made for an enjoyable read for any bibliophile. The book pulls in characters from Pavone's The Expats but I found the storyline here much more compelling. Though the big surprise twist was no twist in my opinion, knowing it was coming didn't in any way negatively impact my enjoyment of the story. As always, bodies abound, and frankly many are dispatched with almost a gleeful note by the author- perhaps a faintly satirical element given the genre. Hayden would likely have been better off simply ignoring the entire disaster from the get-go, but he seems to crave complication for complication's sake. I was surprised we didn't get to hear more about the subject of the biography from anyone other than the supposedly anonymous author; more of Hayden and other's perspectives on him might have fleshed out his character. Still, this was all in all an enjoyable read.

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