Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Travelers by Chris Pavone

Will Rhodes has a great job. Well, a good job with great perks. As a writer for Travelers, Will gets to travel the globe exploring vacation destinations middle-class America only dream about. But on a trip to Paris, Will meets a woman who tempts him in a way he almost can't resist. When he runs into her again in Argentina, their liaison ends with Will on the hook for favors to the CIA!

As Will becomes further entrenched in a life of secrets and espionage, he begins to realize the game he's been recruited into means something much more dangerous than a potential failed marriage. And as each new travel destination becomes another mission, Will Rhodes is forced to question the loyalties of even those closest to him.

As with Pavone's previous two thrillers, The Expats and The Accident, The Travelers is brimming with action and suspense. But unlike the others, I had a bit of a harder time begin pulled into this one.

We begin with a scene in Argentina where Will is attacked and blackmailed. Then we jump back five weeks, into a scene where Will is getting ready to leave for his latest assignment after returning late from a night out, and apparently pissing off his wife. His job has put a strain on their marriage, as has (we learn) their lack of funds, the house they're renovating, and the fact that they're trying to have a child.

And Will is a bit of a complainer when it comes to his relationship. He wants it all to be perfect, he somewhat recognizes his faults, but his eye is turned quite easily when he meets an attractive Australian journalist in Paris.

Tsk, tsk, Will!

Intermittent scenes include a man who works in an intel center tracking certain passports entering and exiting the country, a female assassin, and mysterious behavior from the POV of Will's boss, amongst other things. So the beginning of a book is a bit of a mish mash of scenes that test the reader's patience. And patience is what it takes if you're to stick around and see how these pieces all begin to come together.

As the story progresses, the inevitable paranoia and suspicion of Will's life as a spy ratchets up the intensity of the tale and the pacing reaches and almost frenzied height. But again, it does mean getting through a good bit of confusion first.

The Travelers, once the real story begins to pull together, is an excellent addition to Pavone's growing list of thrillers. It's also apparently been optioned for film - and it'll certainly make a cool one at that!

The Travelers is out in paperback now.

Per Blogging for Books requirements: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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