Review: The Accident by Chris Pavone

March 5, 2014 Crown Books, Review, Thriller 2

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (March 11, 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 0385348452
  • Source: Publisher

Isabel Reed is a literary agent who still relishes in reading hardcopy manuscripts,   refusing to embrace the digital age. One day, a strange manuscript lands on her desk. The author, anonymous, writes an authorized biography of Chris Wolfe, a media mogul. What is revealed in this manuscript, called The Accident, alludes to a history of lies, deception, and murder.   The contents are so volatile that the manuscripts very existence puts anyone who reads it in harms way.

The Accident takes place in the span of one day. Jumping from character to character, it follows the path of those individuals who have copies of this allusive manuscript.  Once those targeted become aware of the danger that follows them, there is no means of safely or escape, not even from the local authorities.

A truly intense and mesmerizing thriller,  The Accident kept my attention from the start, refusing to relinquish until I turned the last page.  Perhaps because I have some knowledge of the publishing world and can grasp the potential and fate if (and when!?) a manuscript like this crosses the path of an agent’s desk…I found the entire plot to be incredibly terrifying.

The fact that this entire novel, 400 pages, takes place in one day is a truly astounding feat. Lives and pasts cross, fates and lives are destroyed, all in the span of one day.  What seems like so much is tucked neatly, perfectly, in this relatively compact novel.

While there are aspects of the novel that I found implausible, particularly given modern technology, I did appreciate the author’s nod to publishing in the days before email and other means of sharing files (did no one think to scan the manuscript!?).  The ending? Without giving away too much, I found the ending to be absolutely perfect and, in a sense, a bit ironic.

This is the first of Pavone’s novel I have read but, now that I have sampled his brilliance, I plan to continue.  Highly, highly recommended.

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