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An intelligence operative uses lethal methods to stop an expose's publication

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"The Accident" by Chris Pavone

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"The Accident" is Chris Pavone's follow up novel to the excellent "The Expats". Unfortunately, this novel is just not as compelling or as enjoyable a read. While the two books share a couple of characters - Kate Moore and Hayden are both characters in The Expats - and a similar universe, the reality is that Kate Moore's inclusion in this novel is so brief and inconsequential, that she merely serves as a stock character, included, along with her "intelligence" boss Hayden solely to tie the two books together.

"The Accident" is also not very likable. It seems more orchestrated than most thrillers - with a lot of moving parts and mysteries revealed in the very last few pages. The prose is split into different view points, with each character having a chapter and the novel moving back and forth from character to character, chapter to chapter. Of course, many of the characters have hidden agendas, which is to be expected in a thriller - espionage book hybrid, but its hard to follow all of the view points and characters out of the gate. It is not until the middle third of the book that it starts to come together. It was hard to stay riveted to either the characters or the story.

That is really unfortunate because there is the nugget of a good story here. An anonymous author has written an expose like manuscript about Charles Wolfe, a media mogul, who apparently has a lot of skeletons in his background - specifically the car accident of the title, but also a secret pact with an intelligence service. Hayden, who ran the intelligence service, apparently set up people in various ways and provided prior knowledge of same to Wolfe who published their failures or even deaths in his media empire. While Wolfe made millions he was complicit in using his news organization to advance Hayden's hidden agenda.

The author of the expose is known to both Wolfe and Hayden. The author suspects that Wolfe and Hayden will not want the expose published. So he takes steps to hide from them. But he still wants to publish his book. Its a cat and mouse tale.

Since Wolfe knows the publishing industry and the author of the manuscript, he is able to tell Hayden about the author's past and provide hints as to where the author might send the book for publication. But the author still manages to send the book to Isabel Reed, a book agent, who provides a copy to an editor to review and her assistant to read. Meanwhile the assistant talks up the manuscript at a party and soon there are multiple copies of the book in play and all bets are off as to whether Wolfe and Hayden can stop it from being eventually published.

However, Hayden will stop at no nothing to stop the publication of the book, and will chase down anyone, who he even thinks has a copy. And death follows in his wake. While you may think Hayden works for a major intelligence service -- its clear in the end he really works for no one but himself.

Will Hayden stop Isabel Reed from publishing the book? Will we find out who is the author? What other mysteries will be revealed?

It turns out that the ending is anti-climatic. The big reveal in the end of the novel is a whisper on the wind barely worth waiting to find out and not all that surprising.

"The Expats" was a winner. "The Accident" is interesting, dry, bloody, full of action, but not as much fun or as good.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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