Tag Archives: Chris Pavone

Edgar winner Chris Pavone rocks it with The Accident

accidentI blew it in 2013 with my choice for the Edgar for Best First Novel by an American author – my pick was Matthew Quirk with The 500, but the actual winner was Chris Pavone for The Ex-Pats.  (The novel came in at #3 for me!)  Now Pavone is back with a book I liked even better, even though it was not a nominee this year:  The Accident.

As in The Ex-Pats, there’s a lot of characters, a lot of action, and a lot of “twisty.”  Maybe even more twistiness.  Kate Moore – the protagonist in the debut novel – is back, but as a minor character.  The heavy lifting in The Accident is done by Isabel Reed.  She’s a literary agent, and the recipient of a manuscript that a media mogul/potential politician with his own private CIA agent will go to any lengths to suppress.  Isabel’s on the run, dragging along Jeff Fielder, the hapless editor who has loved her for almost 20 years, and the only person she trusts with the dangerous blockbuster-to-be.  It’s very suspenseful.  There’s also a lot of inside baseball for those who know publishing, which makes it extra fun.  (Pavone himself was a book editor.)

Here’s where The Accident has it over The Ex-Pats, for me – I cared about the characters.  A lot.  That Isabel Reed is a sad but spunky dame.  Plus it kept me guessing.  On page 296, I had it figured out.  Ah, yes, but not completely.  On page 311 I thought I was wrong.  Then on 354 we find out why Isabel is so sad and lonely.  And then on 374 why she’s maybe going to triumph.  And then at the end, it’s totally satisfactory…except we know something Isabel doesn’t.  So it’s a final, tiny twist.  It’s a solid Literary Lunchbox recommendation for Chris Pavone’s The Accident.

franePS – One of my resolutions for 2015 was to blog more frequently – 2014 was challenging for me and my blog stats showed it!  But Edgar time is always a boost.  And I noticed today that my international traffic is picking up – two visitors in the last week from FRANCE!  So bonjour, mes amis.  Bienvenue!



Foiled again. Lehane and Pavone take home the Edgars.

macbethSeth Godin and I have something in common.  In his recent blog post, he points out that he saw Alan Cumming on Broadway in an out-of-the-box one-man version of MacBeth.  Critics, particularly Charles Isherwood in the New York Times, didn’t like it.  Seth loved it, leading him to wonder what purpose critics serve.   I found this ironic, as Seth is also a critic of a sort, whose commentary is wide-ranging.  All of this is a long lead-up to the fact that the Mystery Writers of America Edgars Banquet was last night and my top-ranked nominees for Best Novel and Best First Novel didn’t win.

live_by_nightCongrats are in order for Dennis Lehane for Live by Night.   In my review, I noted that many people would love this book, but I wasn’t one of them.  So at least I got that right.   This historical crime drama actually came in fourth on my list.   I am, in many ways, astounded that Gone Girl didn’t win.  I console myself that it must have been a close thing.  As a refresher, here’s how I ranked the Best Novel nominees:

  1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  2. The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
  3. Sunset by Al Lamanda
  4. Live By Night by Dennis Lehane
  5. The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins
  6. Potboiler by Jesse Kellerman
  7. All I Did Was Shoot My Man by Walter Mosley

expatsIt was deja vu all over again when it comes to Best First Novel.  Matthew Quirk’s The 500 got my nod.  Chris Pavone took home the Edgar for The Expats.  As my review recounts:  I enjoyed the book, but found it a little convoluted and had a hard time really caring about the main characters.  On the other hand, I did think it would make a fantastic movie.   Here was my final lineup for Best First Novel:

  1. The 500 by Matthew Quirk
  2. Don’t Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman
  3. The Expats by Chris Pavone
  4. Black Fridays by Michael Sears
  5. The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay
  6. Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal

Sigh.  The Edgars are over for another year.  On the other hand, nominations are open for 2014.   Might be fun to keep on eye on it throughout the year – I see William Kent Krueger’s Ordinary Grace is there already!