Book review: The Accident

Chris PavoneThis is a fast-moving thriller with so many questions. To start with, we have the Prologue about an unidentified man writing a book. This is his third draft of a manuscript called ‘The Accident’. An excerpt from his m/s finishes: “…if what you are reading is a finished book, printed and bound and distributed into the world, I am, almost certainly, dead.” I was hooked. The Accident is the second novel of Chris Pavone, his favourite thriller writer is John Le Carré and he certainly paces his storytelling the same way.

The next person we meet is Isabel Reed, a New York literary agent. It is dawn and she has just finished reading a manuscript: ‘The Accident by Anonymous’. She is astounded at the enormity of the story, the revelations and accusations. As well as being a page-turning thriller, this novel is also an insight of the publishing world in New York and how the connections of power function in the USA: media, publishing, Government, CIA, black-ops. Isabel was once a top literary agent, now she is desperate for the last big m/s. Is this it? She stands under the shower: “It all beats down on her, the shower stream and the manuscript and the boy and the past, and the old guilt plus the new guilt, and the new earth-shattering truths, and fear for her career and maybe, now, fear for her life.” There is a lot we don’t know about Isabel: how come she has this m/s; she thinks about a husband, where is he; she thinks about a child, Tommy, also absent. But the story moves so quickly, I put those questions aside and continued reading.

I admit that at the beginning, I lost track of who was where; so many characters are introduced with anonymous snapshots that I got a bit irritated. Which ‘he’ was this? But I stuck with it and the characters assumed names. The thing that kept me reading was the excerpts from the m/s – as Anonymous tells the story, bit-by-bit we learn more about the secret, the bombshell. So when the murders start to happen, I was expecting death. I was soon picking up my Kindle to grab two minutes reading on the run. Who is doing the killing? Who is the author? Is the m/s true, or revenge?

Chris Pavone


Click here to listen to Chris Pavone [above] talk about his first book The Expats, and why he loves reading John Le Carré.
Visit Chris’s website here to read an excerpt from The Accident.

If you like this, try:-
‘Purity’ by Jonathan Franzen
‘A Hero in France’ by Alan Furst
‘Wolf’ by Mo Hayder

‘The Accident’ by Chris Pavone [UK: Faber] Buy now

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE ACCIDENT by Chris Pavone #bookreview via @SandraDanby