Thursday, June 11, 2020

The Accident: Chris Pavone

Having loved Chris Pavone's first novel, The Expats, I was eager to try another of his books. I soon purchased the second book he wrote, The Accident, and read it at the end of March.

The Expats was a spy thriller, but it was more than that. It was about a marriage where each spouse is hiding big secrets from the other. The Accident is not spy fiction at all but the story reads like it is. And since my favorite genre is spy fiction, that worked for me.

This story is about the attempt to publish a tell-all memoir that will release information about a very powerful and rich media mogul and ruin his life. This same information will also ruin a CIA operative, who has the ability to start a manhunt for author and manuscript, in order to prevent its release.

The manuscript is first given to an agent, who passes it onto a friend and editor, who passes portions of it onto the publisher. The action takes place in one day. As in The Expats, important information related to all the people involved is revealed gradually, bit by bit.

I enjoyed the book because of its insights into the publishing industry. I worked in publishing for years but not in that area of the business and not in fiction publishing. Still, that made it personally more interesting.

And since this is about a manuscript it is a book within a book, in a sense, which I like. In this case the excerpts from the manuscript were brief and sprinkled throughout the book. I found it a very effective storytelling technique.

Although this is not a sequel to The Expats, two characters from that book do show up. Kate, the protagonist of The Expats, has a minor role as an assistant to Hayden Gray, the CIA operative who is chasing after the author and his manuscript. Hayden had a minor role in Pavone's first book, but his role is much more prominent here. However, knowledge of the previous book is not necessary at all. This is a standalone.

I would mostly categorize this as a fun thriller read, but there was plenty of loss of life in the effort to cover up the facts in the manuscript, and most of this happened to innocent people. There was a point at which that got depressing.

A minor negative factor is that the story is written in the present tense, which I usually don't like. In this case, for the most part, that did not bother me.


Publisher:  Broadway Books, 2015 (orig. pub. 2014)
Length:      416 pages
Format:     Paperback
Setting:      USA, mostly; also Zurich and Copenhagen
Genre:       Thriller
Source:      Purchased this year.


Neeru said...

I was waiting for this review. Sounds pretty compelling and I love compressed time-frames. Another one on my wishlist.

Margot Kinberg said...

I was hoping this one would be as good as The Ex-Pats, Tracy, and wondering how it compared. I'm glad you enjoyed it as well as you did. Like you, I'm not at all a fan of the present tense in a novel; usually it really grates on my nerves. Every once in a while it can work, though, and I'm glad it didn't detract from your reading.

TracyK said...

If you find this one, Neeru, it is well worth a try. I have already purchased the third book by the author.

TracyK said...

Margot, I did like The Accident as well as The Expats. Although the stories are not connected, and both work as standalone books, I am glad I read The Expats first because of the role Hayden played in this book. Most of the time I did not notice the use of present tense.

Cath said...

This sounds very good and somewhat different in style. I don't mind the present tense at all, in fact I often don't even notice it until I'm well into the book which is a bit odd.

TracyK said...

Cath, in this book I only noticed the present tense when the focus shifted to a different character. Otherwise, it was fine. There are a lot of characters to follow but I only got confused with a couple of minor characters.

CLM said...

I read this one before his others and did not like it as much as you. I liked the publishing parts but found the pace too slow; did think Kate's brief appearance was the best part!

I was thinking about books set in the publishing world the other day. My favorite is called Lipstick on His Collar by Elizabeth Villars.

TracyK said...

Constance, very interesting about Lipstick on His Collar. I looked into the author. I know nothing about her but I have a book titled Lucy that she wrote (have not read it, the story of my life). Also she wrote a book called Scottsboro which I don't know if I could bear to read but it sounds like it would be a good book.

The only books set in publishing that I can think of are older vintage mysteries and even those don't come to mind right now. I will have to think about that more.

Clothes in Books said...

I loved the Expats, and enjoyed this though not quite as much. I keep meaning to check if he has written more.
And now I'm thinking about modern books based in publishing - one of the JK Rowling/Cormoran Strike books had a publishing background. I have also read a couple of books set in literary agencies. But it is much easier to think of older books.

TracyK said...

Moira, the third book that Pavone wrote is The Travelers, and I will be reading it soon. There is a fourth novel feature Kate Moore also.

I haven't had any luck coming up with books set in publishing, other than those found in your post on End of Chapter by Nicholas Blake. I did read The Silkworm by Galbraith and had forgotten that it was about authors. I need to read more in that series.

Rex Stout wrote a book about plagiarism and includes publishers and authors... Plot It Yourself.

And I had forgotten about The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz.

Susanne said...

I have read the other 2 books by Chris Pavone; I will have to hunt this one down.

TracyK said...

Susanne, I have tried to figure out why I like Pavone's writing so much. I guess it is the fast pace plus the way he gradually reveals the story. I am hooked immediately by his books.

col2910 said...

Hmm, I'm tempted by both this and the previous one. Maybe I'll add them to a mental list and see if I cross paths with them down the line, rather than actually seeking them out. I'd like to read more spy fiction this year, but then I'd like to do lots of things with my reading....

TracyK said...

Col, I have been trying to cut back book buying but harder now when I don't have any prospects of the annual book sale to fill in books I want. I would love to read more spy fiction too, but if I read too much of it, it starts running together.