Top critical review
Disappointing after The Expats
on May 19, 2016
An author’s second novel is all too frequently a disappointment. This one was.
Chris Pavone gained widespread attention with his first novel, The Expats, which won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel and became an international bestseller. I liked it a lot when I read it last year. My review is here.
The Accident resembles The Expats in several important ways: in the clever use of flashbacks to break up the chronological account, in the intelligent characters operating at the upper reaches of American society, and in the colorful locales where the action takes place. Unfortunately, the jumbled chronology was confusing, and the story became predictable after awhile. This is a thriller that didn’t quite thrill.
A wealthy media mogul, rogue spies, and the publishing industry
The conceit around which The Accident is built is that somebody anonymous (known as “the author”) has written a devastating expose of an American media mogul. The book hangs on the author’s account of an accident in which the now-famous man was involved as a college student. As we learn fairly quickly, the media mogul has also engaged in questionable and probably illegal activities in Europe in collusion with a rogue CIA agent. When the book’s manuscript turns up, without warning, on the desk of a top-level New York literary agent, the action begins at a rapid pace. The story follows the course of the manuscript as copies change hands from coast to coast — and further “accidents” befall those who read it. Enough said.
About the author
Chris Pavone has written three novels and one nonfiction book. The Accident is the second of his novels. Pavone is a veteran of the publishing industry, which hogs center stage in the book.