Wednesday, July 1, 2015

THE ACCIDENT by Chris Pavone

Isabel Reed is a New York literary agent who has had her share of ups and downs.  Now she has received a mysterious anonymous manuscript called The Accident that exposes famous media mogul Charlie Wolfe as a murderer.  Wolfe’s list of crimes will become even longer, because he will go to any length to squelch the publication of this damning expos√© and has enlisted the help of CIA operative Hayden Gray.  (I thought Hayden’s involvement was a little odd and his connection to Wolfe a little thin, but that’s a minor quibble on my part.)  News of the manuscript has spread, and everyone who reads it seizes an opportunity to capitalize on its value, without realizing how the explosive nature of the book’s content is a source of imminent danger.  Copies start to proliferate, jeopardizing the life of anyone who has one.  The author of the manuscript, who may have faked his own death, turns out to be a long-time friend of Charlie’s.  Isabel offers the publishing rights to her editor-friend, Jeff Fielder, who happens to be in love with Isabel.  When they both realize that their lives are at risk, they flee the city and try to throw their pursuers off track.  Meanwhile, another woman who has purloined a copy makes her way to L.A. to meet with a film producer so that she can procure movie rights, thus increasing the manuscript’s exposure even more and widening the scope of Hayden’s efforts.  The action bounces around across Europe and the U.S., and it’s a veritable thrill ride.  Interspersed within the narrative are excerpts from the manuscript itself, as well as musings from its author.  A few twists and revelations at the end make the novel even juicier.  Pavone’s novel has no real moral dilemma; the good guys are good, and the bad guys are bad, but the author of the manuscript is somewhat devious himself, and the ambiguity surrounding this character is mostly what kept my eyes glued to the pages.

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