The Accident is a somewhat more conventional thriller than Pavone’s fine debut (The Expats, 2012), but he excels at developing characters back stories.
New York literary agent Isabel Reed plows through an anonymous manuscript in one night and immediately knows two things: the manuscript, a biography of a media mogul, will be a blockbuster, and people will die if word of its existence leaks. She’s also fairly sure she knows who the author is, but he’s dead – or is he?
Word does leak, in New York and Hollywood, and ambitious young women in publishing quickly die violently. Isabel and her chosen editor, Jeffrey Fielder, are on the run from resourceful, relentless killers.
Pavone’s plot twists nicely, shifting focus among a large cast of well-drawn characters and using flashbacks and changes of locale (Copenhagen, Zurich, Manhattan, Hollywood, the Hamptons) to build suspense. Isabel and Jeffrey, for example, are successful but frightened that changes in their business and the onset of middle age might make them has-beens, and they’re both recalling the mutual attraction they once had but didn’t act on.
Like Isabel, many readers will read this one through the night. Highly recommended.
6/14 Jack Quick
THE ACCIDENT by Chris Pavone. Crown; First Edition edition (March 11, 2014). ISBN 978-0385348454. 400p.