It’s 3:00am. Do you know where your husband is?
Meet Will Rhodes: travel writer, recently married, barely solvent, his idealism rapidly giving way to disillusionment and the worry that he’s living the wrong life. Then one night, on assignment for the award-winning Travelers magazine in the wine region of Argentina, a beautiful woman makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Soon Will’s bad choices—and dark secrets—take him across Europe, from a chateau in Bordeaux to a midnight raid on a Paris mansion, from a dive bar in Dublin to a mega-yacht in the Mediterranean and an isolated cabin perched on the rugged cliffs of Iceland. As he’s drawn further into a tangled web of international intrigue, it becomes clear that nothing about Will Rhodes was ever ordinary, that the network of deception ensnaring him is part of an immense and deadly conspiracy with terrifying global implications—and that the people closest to him may pose the greatest threat of all.
It’s 3:00am. Your husband has just become a spy.*
I don’t normally read thrillers, but after having read and enjoyed a couple for work I’ve decided to expand the genres I read to include ones I wouldn’t normally pick up voluntarily. I’m glad I did because THE TRAVELERS is a really great book!
Chris Pavone is a beautiful writer; he really paints a portrait of the different cities, of each house and apartment and office and bar, so that the reader feels like they are right there in the action. He does so without making the reader feel overwhelmed or bogged down by details, using succinct but efficient one-liners that convey the scene.
In addition to being a master of setting, Chris knows what he is doing when it comes to pacing the action as well. Even when I thought I had figured out what was going on, something else would occur or a new clue would emerge that would immediately dash my theory and keep me guessing. This one is a true page-turner and a number of chapters end on a cliffhanger, so I’ve lost sleep a few nights to read just one more chapter, to see if I can make another guess as to who the real good guys were.
Part of the reason I was so invested in finding out what happened next is because the characters were all so easy to get attached to, even the flawed protagonist. They all feel very real, and even the minor characters who do not play a major role in the story have a background given to them so that the reader understands what brought them to this exact moment of their life. Again, the author does this without bogging the reader down with inane details or distracting from the main plot in any way.
There are powerful one-liners interspersed with the story and dialogue that make comments on commercialization, the invasion of technology and selfies, and other relevant issues without preaching. These lines make you stop and think, evaluate things that we have perhaps come to see as an everyday aspect of life but should still be questioned, should still be altered or maybe even done away with. These observations were one of my favorite parts of this book.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to fans of thriller/mystery/espionage stories, and even to those who do not typically pick up a book of that nature. I’m looking forward to checking out this author’s other works!
*Book cover and synopsis are from Amazon.com. I received a free advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.