After finishing his first novel, The Expats, Chris Pavone decided he wanted to place his next thriller, The Accident (Crown, Mar.), in the publishing industry. “I wanted to call attention to the massive [numbers] of people behind every book. It’s not just the editor, [who might be] played by Jack Nicholson in a movie. There are young people at their first jobs, and middle-aged or old people, perhaps on their last jobs, who are involved in every book. Then there’s the vast space in between of people whose careers and livelihoods depend on publishing books successfully.”
Pavone is not daunted by the success of his first novel, which debuted on the New York Times bestseller list, was optioned for a film, won both Edgar and Anthony awards, sold in 18 countries, and was highly praised. He tells Show Daily, “Having The Expats not be ‘wholesale-y’ rejected by the world made it possible for me to write the second book, and have a publisher buy it before it was entirely written. And it made it easier for me and my publisher to get The Accident out into the world without trying to convince people to pay attention to it the way you do for a first novel.”
His latest book features an anonymously submitted manuscript to an agent that, if published, could wreak political havoc on the U.S.A. and the CIA, with careers and lives at stake. And like its predecessor, the ending has a surprise twist. “You think you have understood everything that’s gone on,” says Pavone, “and then one extra thing is revealed at the very end of the book that makes you realize that you simply had not fully understood the story until that moment.”
The thriller writer spent nearly two decades as a book editor and is quite familiar with BEA, but it’s different for him being here as an author. He notes, “As someone who has written two books, I am just a couple of drops, and the vast sea of Book Expo is really intimidating. There’s so much published by so many different publishers. Most of the time I don’t have to confront that, but walking into a conference center filled with books—and people buying them or not buying them, being interested or not interested in them—that’s just overwhelming to me now. It’s fun, but it makes me feel so lucky that anybody has ever picked up any of my books when there’s obviously so many choices.”
Pavone will be at the ABA Bookseller lunch today at the Special Events Hall, and will be signing copies of his book at the Mystery Writers of America booth (2557), 10:45–11:15 a.m.