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The Accident    by Chris Pavone order for
by Chris Pavone
Order:  USA  Can
Crown, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I thoroughly enjoyed Chris Pavone's The Expats, so opened The Accident with enthusiasm and wasn't disappointed. Though it is in no way a sequel, previous characters do have roles this time around too, in particular, ex-CIA operative Kate Moore, who now works off the books for veteran CIA spymaster Hayden Gray. And the latter is the spider scurrying around Europe and the United States, spinning a web of deception and death in The Accident - and using the fortune that Kate's husband stole to do so.

At the core of the story is a major blot on the life and career of Charlie Wolfe, a media mogul with a long secret history of CIA involvement, and with political ambitions. It seems that the best friend, who shared in what happened, profited from it, and kept it secret, has had second thoughts. He's carefully laid his plans, pretended to be dying of cancer, and hidden himself away in Europe to write an explosive memoir, written by Anonymous. And he's sent this very dangerous document to New York literary agent Isabel Reed, whose life was blighted by the loss of her beloved small son Tommy. Why her? She wonders and the reader does too.

Author Chris Pavone, a long-time book editor, clearly knows his way around the publishing world and portrays its interworkings here, blemishes and all. He traces the movements of various copies of the manuscript through that world, each of them followed by agents of Hayden Gray, dealing out accidental death to all involved. What is Gray's motivation? You need to read to the very end to find out and it's a humdinger. If you enjoyed Expats, you'll also love The Accident - both are surprising, exciting, filled with action and betrayals, and often told tongue in cheek; neither is to be missed.

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