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The Travelers    by Chris Pavone order for
by Chris Pavone
Order:  USA  Can
Crown, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Chris Pavone burst onto the spy thriller scene in 2012 with The Expats. It had a wheels within wheels plot and characters in all the shades of gray, many living the expatriate lifestyle in Europe. Next came The Accident, focused on the international publishing world, but also with CIA involvement. Now, in The Travelers, he continues to write variations on the accidental spy theme, but his hero this time is travel writer Will Rhodes.

Readers enter Will's routine gradually and - at first - enviously. He appears to be living the great life, traveling to exotic spots, staying in luxury resorts and dining well, all on someone else's dime. But his marriage seems a bit shaky. When Will has hired by the Travelers magazine where his wife Chloe worked, she left their full-time staff and started working as a contributing editor. She has grown increasingly moody ever since. We gradually learn why, and it's a shocker.

Meantime Will flies around the world on assignments for his boss and friend, Malcolm, who was promoted after the disappearance of his own boss, Jonathan, with rumors of murder or suicide. In an ancient chateau in southwest France, Will's attracted to Aussie Elle. He fights it, but meets her again and eventually succumbs, filled with self-loathing. When he meets Elle again, she blackmails Will into acting as a CIA asset and using his job to spy. His life gets increasingly complicated.

While all this goes on, we see an assassin at work on different continents and wonder, who are the good guys and who the villains? Chloe starts to be suspicious - can Will risk telling her the improbable truth and will she believe him if he does? Read The Travelers to find out - it's quite a thrill ride with an action-packed crescendo of a conclusion.

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