Crown Publishers, $26.00, 400 pages, ISBN 978-0-385-34845-4
It’s no secret to regular readers of the Mysterious Book Report that our focus is on finding new and upcoming authors who show a lot of promise, as well as a lot of talent, in the thriller and crime fiction genres and bring them to your attention. My criteria are simple. Is it a new and unknown author? Does he or she have something interesting to say and a unique voice to say it in? And lastly, am I still thinking about what I’ve read for several days after? If so, the book will probably make our Best Books of the Year List, which is issued each December at around Christmas time.
The Accident, by Chris Pavone meets all the above criteria and then some. It’s Pavone’s second novel, (his first, The Expats, was a NY Times bestseller and an Edgar Award Winner) and it’s a keep-you-up-all-night page turner that I predict will also be a best seller because the author has an uncanny ability to ratchet up the tension on the first few pages and keep it there throughout the remainder of the book. The novel begins at dawn, with a literary agent named Isabel Reed finishing the last page of an anonymous manuscript that she’s sure will be a runaway bestseller because of the explosive nature of it’s tell-all contents. It names names of powerful people and the crimes they’ve committed over the years while building a worldwide media empire and amassing fabulous wealth. But along with the wealth and fame, comes a desire for power . . . national political aspirations that would be crushed if the manuscript were to go public. When those with copies of the manuscript start dying however, it becomes apparent that it’s as deadly as it is controversial. The cast of characters are broad and include a media titan; an anonymous hidden author who’s undergoing plastic surgery to disguise his appearance and save his life; and a rogue CIA officer who’s in league with the media mogul who’ll stop at nothing to prevent the book from being published. The Accident is a first-rate thriller from a first-rate author we’ll be hearing a lot more from in the coming years. Take this opportunity to read and grow with him.