Write what you know, they say, and Chris Pavone has certainly done this in his follow-up to his prize-winning debut novel The Expats, which I reviewed on here a couple of months ago. Pavone worked as an editor in New York book publishing houses for fifteen years, and his new new novel features a literary agent and an editor in a New York book publishing house. He may also know some film producers and possibly even some media moguls, but hopefully the international spies and hit men are the product of his imagination -- who knows?
This is being described as a fast-paced thriller, and it's difficult to argue with that. The main action takes place in a breathtakingly action-filled twenty-four hours, starting with agent Isabel Reed turning the first pages of a new, and anonymous, manuscript entitled The Accident. The manuscript is completely rivetting, being full of revelations that could not only destroy the career of the book's subject (said media mogul) but may actually threaten national security.
Needless to say, there's a powerful need to make sure the book never gets published, and international CIA agent Hayden Gray is determinedly tracking down all exisiting copies -- not an easy task as keen young assistants keep rushing off and making illegal photocopies. Several of them get killed for their trouble. Will Isabel and her loyal editor friend escape?
I'd rather enjoyed The Expats and had been looking forward to this new one tremendously, but I have to admit I didn't like it quite as much as the earlier novel. Chris Pavone has the habit of jumping backwards and forwards through time without signalling that he's doing so, and though I was able to keep up with the flashbacks in The Expats, I found the ones here rather confusing. I'd also really taken to Kate, the main protagonist of the earlier novel, and though she does reappear here briefly, I didn't warm so much to Isabel and her cohorts.
Perhaps I just wasn't in the right mood for this. There are many interesting issues explored here, and I'm sure there are many people who will love all the running around and shooting. I can well imagine it being made into a film, which will probably a huge hit if so. Best of luck to Chris Pavone, and many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy.