Review #9 – Fiction
Blogging for Books review #1
The Accident by Chris Pavone
The Accident by Chris Pavone promised so many things that I like in a book: a mystery, murder, scandal, insight into New York City Publishing… but unfortunately, even with all those things (they were all there, the promise of them was kept) this book lacked any real punch.
The plot revolves around a mysterious, anonymous manuscript that is dropped off at literary agent Isabel Reed’s office. This manuscript describes some seriously illegal actions of one of the biggest international media moguls, his partner, and his father, and it implicates the CIA in some of the illegal business. Basically, it’s a bombshell, not only for the media mogul but also for the United States and the CIA because of their involvement. Snippets of this manuscript are sprinkled throughout the book, giving the reader details and pieces of the scandal here and there.
Obviously, there are people who do not want this manuscript published, and they are going to great lengths to prevent just that, while also trying to find the author — but even they don’t seem to know who exactly that is.
Isabel knows how import the manuscript is, and gives a copy to a friend (an editor) to read and hopefully move forward publishing. Copies wind up in several hands without her knowledge: her assistant, a subsidiary rights director at the editor’s publishing house, and a film director in LA among others. When these people begin to die suddenly, and Isabel suspects she’s being followed, she meets up with Jeffrey (the editor friend) and leaves town, trying to save their lives.
The thrill of this novel is based on giving clues as to what “The Accident” was, how this media mogul was involved, how it was covered up, and how the CIA became involved with growing the media empire that now exists. The accident is revealed rather quickly, as is the cover up, and some of the murders that start to pile up.
The second half of the book trudges slowly, dangling just the pieces regarding the CIA as well as the author’s true identity, in front of the reader for nearly 200 pages. When more people who had access to the manuscript are found dead, it’s expected merely because all the others had gone before, not to mention we aren’t really given relationships with those characters, so them dying just feels like par for the course; we aren’t invested.
What we care about is Isabel and Jeffrey, and the author. There is a twist as to who the author ends up being, and also regarding Jeffrey’s role in the situation, though we are given a lot of lead up to both these revelations, and I personally was not surprised. This was an interesting book, and I think rather intriguing considering the specific conspiracies that are laid out. It’s a fun read, but I think rather front heavy.
The Accident starts off with a bang, from the first half of this book, I was on board, turning pages as fast as I could to find out where it was going, what the secret was, how would it all end, etc. But then the mystery just fell off and turned into a cat and mouse chase that obviously had to end at some point. It was like a reverse stick of dynamite. Too much of the thrill, the interest and intrigue was given at the beginning and it didn’t continue throughout. The big twists were used too early, and the little twists that came at the end were given away in bits and pieces so that the shock value was gone.
That sad, the intricacy of the story is great. So many characters were involved, in so many ways, some ways that were unexpected. A few characters ended up being people I didn’t expect them to be, and some events, including “The Accident”, didn’t play out the way we’re led to believe. These are the things that are done well: the intricacy of the plot, the knowledge of the publishing industry, and misdirection of events and characters. However, with all the twists and turns and shocks that are loaded into the first half of the book, I was expected something really big, something incredibly unexpected for the ending. In reality though, it merely fizzled out.
It was a good read, interesting and well conceived, especially for someone working in publishing (it was fun to see this fictionalized scary, suspenseful, dangerous side of the industry), in the end, I was expecting more from the finale. Chris Pavone is an engaging writer, and I would be interested in picking up his other novel, The Expats, to see how it measures up.
I’d give this 3.5 out of 5 stars.