Friday, February 28, 2014

The Accident, Edgy and Full of Suspense, by Chris Pavone!

The street is leafy, sun-dappled, birdsongy. Hayden's bicycle leans amid dozens of others in the jumbled rack on the wide sidewalk, a few blocks from the queen's palace in Amalienborg. He hops on, pedals gently through quiet streets, to the staid brick building on Kronprinsessegade that houses the David Collection, one of the premier resources on the Continent for his new hobby, Islamic art. He spends a half-hour examining the Middle Age artifacts of the Spanish emirate, from a time when Cordoba was the largest city in Western Europe. Cordoba, of all places.
Hayden Gray is, after all, a cultural attache'. He has a large luxurious office three hundred miles due south, in the American Embassy in Pariser Platz, next to the Brandenburg Gate. He still makes his permanent home in Munich, but his new job responsibilities require regular appearances in Berlin, and a legitimate office there. Of course Berlin has always been a fascination for Hayden, indeed for anyone in his line of work. Lost Angeles has the film business, and Paris has fashion; Berlin is for espionage. But it's not a particularly attractive city, and the appealing things about it--a vibrant youth culture, a practically developing-world level of inexpensiveness, and the limitless energy of its nightlife--are not compelling assets for him. So he'd rather not live there...
In the window across the street, the scraggly man sits at his desk, turned as always in profile. Jens Grundtvig, part-time student, part-time writer, and nearly full-time stoner, is sometimes typing on his computer, sometimes just moving his mouse around, researching, and sometimes is on the telephone, gathering quotes, checking facts. Grundtvig seems to be putting a fact-checking polish on another man's project, and Hayden's task is to find that other man. After three months, Jens Grundtvig of Copenhagen is Hayden's only substantive lead...

The Accident
By Chris Pavone

Whether or not intended, most Americans will think of only one man to characterize the life of Charlie Wolfe; i.e., if we are to assume the power and wealth of the individual for whom the book called, The Accident would be written. And once we get that into our heads, the next thing would be, What if...

What if a now very powerful American media mogul, together with his best friend and father, had killed and/or been involved with the cover up of the death of a young girl during his college years??? What if it really was an accident? Would that make a difference or does the fact that they covered it up mean that he knew he was guilty of murder?

Would we ever consider whether that man could have done it and, if so, if it was discovered, would he pay for it in jail, or would he ensure nobody ever found out, even if many deaths had to occur?

He opens the media folder of motion-activated
footage. Since he last checked, there have been
about ten minutes of motion, in one stretch,
time-stamped beginning 3:08 p.m. local time.
The first activated camera, as usual is the one in
the hall, as the front door opens. It's a different
man from the usual, this one tall and blond and
muscular and wearing latex gloves, moving
quickly, not pausing to listen for sounds, not
hesitating, not sneaking around corners. This
man, like the others, knows there's no one home;
he and his colleagues are keeping close tabs on
Isabel, and they know where she is at all times.
But also like the others, this blond guy doesn't
know about the surveillance cameras that are
watching him while he's spying on her.
These cameras are the author's. He had them
installed partly to monitor the agent, but mostly
keep track of these goons who come and go,
to see what they do, to see if they ever walk
away with a manuscript, or, worse, with the
woman herself. One or another of these guys
has been stealing into her apartment every
few days for months. Checking on her
submissions. Checking on her.
Can you even imagine what would happen if even a "hint" of such a book was made or discovered? If you can't, then run, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore and get this book! Chris Pavone may just be an expert in writing suspense. Readers are caught immediately with the concept, but the intriguing path that one copy of a book can take is not only believable but makes you question whether hot news can ever be stopped in its tracks...

Even by someone who has control of more media outlets than anyone else...

Maybe because there would be so many willing to dig his grave by "outing" the secret death...

The manuscript of the  book has just been submitted to a literary agent and, not through her hands, to others involved in publishing. It would be to their advantage for them to be able to publish and reap the benefits of such an explosive story! That was Isabel Reed's decision when she started thinking about how she could ensure that "she" was the agent who would control everything that happened!

Of course, other people had similar ideas...And if you can imagine an industry who is looking toward collapse, some time in the future, such as publishing companies are, you can also imagine it gets pretty cut throat at this time. So Isabel's first copy to her preferred editor--a man she knows is in love with her, is a safe decision. But not if he doesn't realize soon enough what a valuable property it will become and leaves it on his desk to be copied... She also hadn't known that her assistant had made a copy for her own use--and was the first one killed! At least until she found her the next day...

But soon the plot deepens as the CIA gets involved. They've already noticed that a man is doing a lot of research on Charlie.  And Charlie has had quite a bit of interaction with this agent for many years. Shall we save a lucrative arrangement on both sides? 

Now there were a number of copies getting out...and those individuals were immediately terminated... 

The book has been written by Anonymous... But there are a number of people who believe they know who the author is... Even if he is supposed to be dead...

Throughout the book readers are given slices of the manuscript so that you begin to see the potential of the story. But there are a couple of things that are "off" for the reader to consider, even if you can't figure out the "why's" of it. The ending was a total surprise for me, one that could even be a setup for a sequel, but with all that's going on in this one, I'm not sure anything more than the same could be conceived... LOL But then, I'm not this imaginatively creative writer who presents this
"Never seen him before, I don't think.
The truth is I didn't get a good look at
him--really, I didn't get any look at him--
I was on a very very long call with Steph
Bernstein, who was having a massive
meltdown about all the negative reader
reviews on Goodreads, which have been
sort of vicious, on top of that brutal daily
Times review."
ongoing suspense without a let-up!  

It is obvious that he has seen, learned and/or researched what is happening to and within publishing companies, although hopefully not as bloody as his book. But I did notice that he provided an interesting reference of the social media setting which most of us already knew about as reviewers. Sad to say that this bit of notoriety is not something we like to even see, especially in a book we are reviewing... All I can say is why get "vicious" in writing a review? I don't think I've ever felt vicious about anything...a little sarcastic, maybe...LOL in my JMPO blog...

Ok, I enjoyed reading books with a setting within the publishing world, even though I have just a teeny role in that arena...I think this is an excellent overview of the entire potential, including movie rights, etc. But no matter the setting, the suspense, the edgy writing, together with the political corruption makes for a totally entertaining, crime novel, even with a somewhat "hanging" end. Enjoy!


Chris Pavone is the author of THE EXPATS, which was an instant New York Times, USA Today, and international bestseller, published in twenty languages on five continents, as well as developed for film, plus winner of the 2013 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Chris grew up in New York City, and attended Midwood High School in Brooklyn and Cornell University, then worked at a number of publishing houses over nearly two decades, most notably as an editor at Clarkson Potter, where he specialized in cookbooks; in the late nineties, he also wrote a little (and mostly blank) book called The Wine Log. Chris is married and the father of twin schoolboys, and lives in Greenwich Village and the North Fork of Long Island. His second novel, THE ACCIDENT, will be published March 11, 2014.

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