Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Travelers

The Travelers by Chris Pavone
eBook review copy; 448 pages
hardcover ISBN-13: 9780385348485

The Travelers by Chris Pavone is a highly recommended twisty espionage/spy laced plot that is one big adrenaline rush.

Will Rhodes is a travel writer for a well-known, long established magazine, Travelers.  He is recently married to Chloe, who used to write for Travelers, and they are trying to fix up a dilapidated house that they inherited from her father. From all appearances they are like many other struggling young couples - with the exception of Will's job that sends him traveling all over the world. 

During one assignment he meets a gorgeous woman, Elle, who claims to be a travel writer from Australia. She seduces him and, despite his protests that he is a married man, he succumbs to her wiles. Bad choice. Elle goes on to use his infidelity as a way to recruit him to do some undercover espionage work for her. She claims she's with the CIA and he was a purposeful choice because: “You travel around the world, in and out of embassies and palaces and exclusive events, with press credentials. With the impunity that comes from an ironclad legend. How many people in the world have similar access and cover, do you think? A couple dozen?”

Will's assignments become increasingly fraught with danger and he's struggling with the lies he is telling Chloe, as well as his boss, Malcolm Somers. But Malcolm and Chloe seem to have a few secrets of their own. Additionally, surprise surprise, it doesn't appear that Elle is being totally honest with Will.

Pavone provides plenty of incentive to keep flipping the pages in this fast-paced, action-packed thriller. There are enough twists and turns and globe-trotting to keep you glued to the pages to see what happens next. Of course, you may wonder, as I did, why Will seemed to be so thick-headed and missed the clues that were right in front of him. This is another novel about secrets wrapped up in secrets, like the much loved Expats (which I liked better than The Travelers in a book-to-book comparison).

The plot is complex and there are several characters you'll need to follow at the beginning. I'd suggest just going with the flow and things will become clear later on - but then other things will become more complex. Pavone does an excellent job setting up the plot and moving this novel along at a furious but smooth pace. The quality of the writing is great There are parts where you will need to suspend disbelief and, honestly, you may not like any of the characters in The Travelers, but it will provide exhilarating escapism with enough twists and reveals to keep you glued to the pages.

This is a perfect stuck-over-night-at-the-airport book, but you will find yourself keeping an eye on your fellow travelers.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Random House for review purposes.

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