Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: The Accident

The Accident
By Chris Pavone
Crown Publishers March 2014
381 pages
From the library

The Accident

Isabel Reed is a literary agent whose days are numbered. She realizes that her years of work will not keep her employed for much longer. When an anonymous manuscript shows up on her desk, she realizes that this story could change everything for her. The book claims that a media mogul has very dark secrets that have been covered up by the government itself. Isabel quickly realizes that this manuscript is very dangerous. There are people who want to ensure the book never reaches a single reader...and they will take out anyone who stands in their way.

The Accident is told from multiple points of view. We follow Isabel, her assistant Alexis, and editor Jeff as they understand the magnitude of the information they hold. The anonymous author fears that he will be discovered and someone sets out to destroy all evidence that such a manuscript ever existed. Mr. Pavone juggles all of these characters admirably. Apparently some of the characters are making a second appearance after his debut novel The Expats, but I had no trouble following along despite not having read the other book. 

This book is the perfect blend of thriller and ode to publishing. Many avid readers love to read tales of libraries, bookstores, and publishing companies, and The Accident looks at the day to day operations of both literary agents and publishing houses. Instead of just focusing on one aspect, we spend time with the assistant looking for a way to move up in the industry and veterans who wonder if there is still a place for them in an increasingly digital culture. One of the things I found really interesting (and accurate) was the ways in which publishing was evolving because it is no longer enough to write an excellent story. The more important issue now is how well your story translates to TV or film. While I doubt that the publishing world is actually as perilous as the world of The Accident, the blend of insider knowledge and edge-of-your-seat thrills is a perfect combination.

The underlying theme of this whole story is desperation. The anonymous author is desperate to get his story out into the world, just as others are determined to keep it hidden. But underneath these very big motivations are the smaller things that we deal with every day - the desperate attempts to find success in our careers or validation from people who matter to us and the insistent hope that we will be able to move past our personal tragedies.

The Accident is a very well-written book. Peeking behind the closed doors of the publishing industry will be irresistible for any bibliophile. Mr. Pavone carefully unveils clue after clue until all of the pieces fall into place with stunning clarity. Find a long weekend and a comfy chair, because this is a story you will want to read straight through! 


  1. This sounds like a read I would enjoy! Thanks for the well written review.

  2. I didn't know much about this title, though I have seen it everywhere. Thanks for sharing your opinion. I now would like to read it, and perhaps look for The ExPats also, even though not necessary.

    1. I have that experience all the time! I keep seeing a book in so many different spots, but I can't seem to find a description that really tells me anything! I'm glad you decided to pick it up. :)