What author Chris Pavone gives us in his new novel "The Accident" is a series of "ones". One day in the lives of a group of inter-related characters , one explosive non-fiction manuscript that threatens the very lives of many of these individuals, and one ruthless media mogul and his assorted cronies bent on keeping the manuscript from ever being published. Unlike Pavone's first novel "The Expats" which dealt primarily with spies, this story is set in the world of publishing with side trips into political maneuvering and dirty dealing performed under the guise of national security.
It appears that the world of publishing is filled with individuals who will do whatever it takes to survive in a cut-throat business. (Ditto for CIA and FBI operatives.) From New York literary agent Isabel Reed and her assistant Alexis to owner/publisher Brad McNally and his editor Jeffrey to subsidiary rights director Camilla Glyndon-Browning, each sees the anonymous submission as a ticket to success, while CIA Copenhagen station chief Hayden Gray is trying desperately to hold on to his own "golden ticket."
Although all the action takes place in one day it does initially take a bit of concentration to keep the cast straight since the author moves back and forth in time via the various characters recollections of old secrets and lies and more recent revelations. No spoilers here but I will say that the end of this book contains an extra layer of complexity that elevates the story from average to remarkably satisfying. 31/2 stars
Chris Pavone has a winner here! It took me a couple of chapters to get the rhythm of the book, but I ended up loving it. A well written story-line that keeps the reader turning the pages, with just enough reality to make it believable. The story revolves around literary agent Isabel Reed, and a mysterious, anonymous manuscript that she receives. She is both drawn to it, and terrified by it. The revelations in this book form a web that encompasses secrets involving a powerful media media empire, its owner, government agencies and officials, and a secret from Isabel's own past.
The manuscript could be a career maker for many people .. including Isabel's young assistant,Alexis; Camilla, an ambitious rights director searching for a golden parachute; Stan, a larger than life producer in LA, by Brad, a struggling publisher in New York, and by Isabel's friend Jeff, a veteran editor. It could also get them killed.
Each character is well scripted, and the movement between them flows seamlessly. They each have their strengths, and their flaws. In the background we have the anonymous author, who is supposed to have committed suicide, and a CIA type operative that ... isn't.
This is all about betrayal at the highest levels, and how one incident can form a shadow over so many lives, for their entire life. All of this action takes place within the space of one day ... 24 hours. Well worth a read!
Pavone's The Accident, the follow-up to his very good first novel, The Expats, has all the makings of a bestseller. Its plot is fast-paced and exciting, its characters are credible and its narrative makes the reader feel that he/she is "right there" in the middle of the excitement.
So, here's a bit of what The Accident is about to whet your appetite.
A female, NYC literary agent has just finished reading a manuscript by an anonymous author that provides mysterious revelations about some very powerful people -- one of whom is a billionaire media mogul, as well as long-hidden secrets about her own past. It is a manuscript that she feels will explode its way onto bestseller lists, and help rejuvenate her career as well as that of the editor she's chosen to help get this book published. A very experienced CIA operative is determined that this story stay buried, and is willing to "remove" anyone exposed to the manuscript. And, The Accident is about the anonymous author himself who is "living in shadows" in Copenhagen, trying to atone for a lifetime's worth of lies and betrayals by wanting to get his book published.
Needless to say, these lives collide as the book begins on the path towards publication and towards saving or ruining careers and companies...a path that places everything at risk and everyone in danger of their lives.
Is The Accident great literature? Definitely not. What it is, however, is an exciting, entertaining and suspenseful thriller that demonstrates that Pavone's successful debut with The Expats was no accident. The one minor criticism I have is that the book tends to jump too much back and forth between time periods, characters and geographic locations; which, at times, made me feel I needed a scorecard to keep track of things. Despite this perceived flaw, The Accident is a book I think most thriller lovers will enjoy.
I received an eBook of The Accident from the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest, objective review; which is what I've provided. I hope you find my review helpful in helping to decide if The Accident is a book for you.
on March 20, 2014
Someone once told me that I needed to be able to sit down with a new book and read the first 100 pages. I have never had that time so never thought this was particularly true.....until this book. I started this book, restarted, and re started again. I thought about doing a flow chart of characters so when I could read a few chapters I wouldn't be so lost. I loved the plot and my only real complaint, and this is probably the fault of the e-reader, is when switching back and forth between present day and 25 years ago, those paragraphs need to be in italic so it is readily recognized. Drives me crazy when I am reading along and the very next paragraph is something from the past. No page break, no indentation - something so I don't need to go back to see what I might have missed! Would I recommend, yes, but don't think it is as good as his first book.
on July 10, 2014
You may want to read THE ACCIDENT if you're part of the New York literary crowd, but if you're just looking for a suspenseful read, move on. This "suspense" novel is very slow to develop a plot, and we never stay in any character's head long enough to have a chance of developing empathy. The author attempts to build tension by repeatedly cross-cutting between different points of view, verb tenses, and present/past activity (the latter also hopscotching around out of sequence), but as a reader I found this technique more annoying than engaging. Scene-setting is established with a laundry list of observations -- e.g., "Then he too starts walking through Union Square's riot of exuberant youth," followed by descriptions of 20 different kinds of people encountered in the square, none of whom have anything to do with the story. Alas, the big end-of-book reveal of a key character's real identity is obvious halfway through the novel. In the Acknowledgments Mr. Pavone thanks everyone he has apparently ever shaken hands with, but I wish he had had more to thank his editor for.
on March 19, 2014
There is a tremendous flaw in this book. The whole story is based on a very flimsy conceit.
Many characters die violently in order that multiple paper copies of a tell-all celebrity career destroying manuscript and its xerox copies be captured and shredded.
In any semblance of the real world, at the very first in-office appearance of this manuscript, the pages would be scanned and put on disc, not just xeroxed and passed along hand to hand in carry-bags. The scans would be on email and irretrievable. Every publisher and agent does this.
The rest of the book is action packed gobbledy-gook, well narrated but not very believable.
"The Accident" needed an editor, badly!
on August 17, 2015
What a shame! I was looking for a good thriller and found this book highly recommended -- why? The other reviewers have provided the low-down on too many characters, a complete lack of a 'hook to pull readers into an all-night read, a silly idea at the center of the story to the effect that a manuscript for a new book would not be digitized, and that the paper copies of the ms. would get people killed.
As for me, I go to page 50 and decided to check out these review because the The Accident is such a boring book. A shame I didn't read them first. Now I'm putting the book down unfinished. What else? I folund his writing careless in the sense that he had actions out of sequence. For example, one of the main characters is moving through her apartment and the author gives us a feel for her surroundings. One thing she does is look at a clock because at that point in the story, the time of day is important. But we have to read an overly detailed bit about how the clock is in the coffee-maker. Who cares? Is that coffee maker going to be important to the story? In another walk down memory lane [after telling the time of day from the coffee maker} the heroin pays attention to her family photos. Well that's an inventive method for providing 'backstory.' But the telling is all disjointed. First she's a kid, then she's married, then she's in college, then she's divorced. So the reader has to do mental backflips to keep the story straight.
When the woman dresses for work, she has a suit on, then she puts on a blouse, OK, its often the case that one puts on a blouse first and then the suite but, hey, I'm not writing the book. But next she is putting on makeup and blow drying her hair. Don't know about the rest of the world, but as for me, I do my hair and makeup BEFORE I put on my outside clothes.
Altogether, one or two little out of sequence lapses would not be an issue, but this author has just slapped words on a page with little or no order to the logic of human actions or the logical-flow-of-thought going on in the reader's mind.
Book publishing isn't particularly exciting, not even when a terrific, controversial manuscript, with "best seller" written all over it, arrives on the desk of an agent, editor, publisher, or movie producer. And that's exactly what's wrong with THE ACCIDENT--a novel about an unpublished manuscript so explosive that even possessing a photocopy of it can get a person killed. THE ACCIDENT, for most of its 300-plus pages, is just plain boring.
The novel is well-written, but always slow-moving. Worse yet, the author compensates for the lack of action by adding paragraph upon paragraph of description. After a while the reader tires of the lengthy, Proust-like word pictures--lists of the types of people seen in the crowds of New York City, Paris, and other European cities; detailed inventories of the interiors of slummy flats, showplace offices, singles bars, high-rise apartments, and landed estates in fashionable New York suburbs; painstakingly detailed observations regarding the characters' clothing and possessions.
The plot is simplicity itself. An anonymous author has written an unauthorized biography of a powerful media magnate who is about to run for public office. If the events related in the biography are true, then publication of the book will not only bring down the magnate's publishing empire, it will also topple many well-connected politicians, judges, policemen, FBI agents, CIA operatives, and so on.
Of course, the magnate wields tremendous power, and has truly unbelievable surveillance, tracking, and goon resources. The magnate--and his connected friends--will stop at nothing to collect and destroy all copies of the manuscript (which exists only as a paper original and photocopies). Thus every single individual who comes in contact with the manuscript is placed in great peril, and there are many fatalities.
All of the "action" in THE ACCIDENT happens in a single day--starting from the time that a literary agent finishes reading the manuscript; continuing as legitimate and clandestine copies are made by various people who see the manuscript's money-making potential; and ending with the ultimate fate of the manuscript.
Because THE ACCIDENT is tiresome, overloaded with descriptive passages, and has an unbelievable plot, I rate it at 2 stars ("I don't like it" on the official Amazon scale).
on March 27, 2014
This seems to be a popular book but the premise is silly as is the execution. I guess the author had never heard of making a digital copy of a manuscript. Too much detail and filler. Do we really need to know so much about minor characters before they're killed off. Every novel of this genre needs at least one clever individual; here alas we have none.
on April 22, 2016
Let's start with what's good about this novel: its physical dimensions are good for transporting.
Other than that, this was probably the biggest waste of time I have spent on reading any type of material. I can think of only 4 or 5 books I have either wished I had never started or had given up on. This is one of them.
The story itself is overblown. If you haven't figured out what the BIG, HORRIBLE TRUTH that will destroy a mega-publishing empire and political career is by page 37, you have led a sheltered life. This story has been in so many movies and TV shows - and done so much better - that the reader can almost write how and where the story line will progress. Throwing in "spies" and supposedly cynical, world-weary tough guys makes the reader wonder "Why the heck are they here?"
Add to this the boring and self-conscious writing, and you have a recipe for a truly dull journey. If 2 lines of description more than cover a scene, the author makes sure to add four or five more to make sure you are completely bored by detail that has no other purpose for the story or character-development than to add pages to the heft of the book and make you suspect that this writer thinks he is really special.
There might have been a saving grace if his characters were interesting or engendered empathy - they absolutely do not. I doubt anyone cares about the vafrious minor characters who come and go and get killed: you know they're doomed from the moment they're introduced and you may even be rooting for it to happen. These characters are all so sophisticated and fed up with their surroundings and lives - everything is just so mundane; they have made gobs of money in a dying industry and wonder what is to become of themselves - oh, boo-hoo!
Run from this book as fast as you can - read a really great mystery : I Am Pilgrim - instead.