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'The Accident' is gripping, suspenseful

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“The Accident” is a journey into the world of book publishing and secrets.

‘The Accident'

Author: Chris Pavone

Publisher: Crown, 402 pages, $26

By Jeff Ayers
Saturday, March 29, 2014, 2:09 p.m.

Chris Pavone, author of the compelling “The Expats,” returns with his new novel, “The Accident,” a journey into the world of book publishing and secrets.

Literary agent Isabel Reed receives a hand-delivered manuscript from an anonymous author. She's a bit put off, but when she starts reading the mysterious manuscript, she can't put it down. The revelations in the narrative would easily create a scandal involving one of the world's most powerful men.

Isabel knows an editor named Jeff who can keep a secret and who understands the kind of explosion the book's publication would cause.

Meanwhile, CIA operative Hayden Gray has been tracking the manuscript's elusive author. He's done everything to make sure the revelations contained in the book never see the light of day, and he's shocked to learn that Isabel has read it. He has a bold decision to make.

Then, Isabel's assistant is found dead, and Isabel realizes she and Jeff might be next.

The setup that Pavone unveils is quite tantalizing, and it would have been easy to have the secret be unremarkable. But the author avoids that trap with terrific surprises and high-quality writing in this engaging thriller.

Jeff Ayers is a staff writer for the Associated Press.

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