We’re participating in the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop and are starting our giveaway a day early. For this hop, we’ve chosen bestselling author Chris Pavone’s new thriller, The Travelers. If you’ve been following our reviews through the years, you know we’ve reviewed his two prior bestselling novels, The Expats and The Accident. Links to those reviews appear at the bottom of this one. It’s probably a gross understatement to say that Chris Pavone has a gift for taking ordinary people, putting them in the wrong place at the wrong time (usually in the wrong country), and then – well, then things get extremely fast and furious. I became a fan just a few pages into The Expats. Luckily his novels are stand-alone reads so you don’t have to worry about coming into the middle of a series – and luckily one of you is going to win his brand-new novel, The Travelers.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an international travel writer? Doesn’t it sound incredibly glamorous? Getting paid to travel to world-class cities or maybe remote, pristine beaches all over the world and have someone else pay for it? Having to rough it by staying in the finest hotels or the most exclusive resorts – eating in the most sought-after restaurants or finding that little café tucked away that nobody but the locals know about? Doesn’t it sound like a dream come true?
“We are Travelers, ladies and gentlemen. The most trusted brand in international travel.”
I’d like to introduce you to Will Rhodes because traveling is Will’s life. He and his wife, Chloe, have been travel writers for years. They’ve skipped across the globe countless times to track down fun adventures for vacationers, from the most luxurious to the most remote, hidden spots no one knows about. They’ve constantly sought out new places to quench the never-ending thirst of real world travelers and armchair world travelers who read Travelers magazine. Sounds amazing, right?
There are some downsides to it. For example, they aren’t often in the same country at the same time. It got to Chloe so much that she stopped traveling when they recently got married. And Chris is getting a bit burned out but he’s hanging in there. He’s been thinking lately that this whole travel writing gig isn’t what it was cracked up to be, but he’s got bills to pay and no idea what else he wants to do.
And then one night on an assignment in Argentina’s wine country, Will makes a decision that will change his life. He has one too many drinks with a beautiful travel writer named Elle and does the one thing he swore he’d never do…and it’s secretly videotaped. Now that would be bad enough but it gets worse. If he doesn’t agree to do something for Elle, who says she works for the CIA, then the videotape is going straight to the love of his life, his new wife. And that, my fellow readers, is when Will becomes a spy…a very reluctant, unprepared, and terrified spy but a spy nonetheless.
“Will isn’t entirely surprised that something bad is happening. He’d always hoped—irrationally?—that his good luck would end with a speed bump, not a calamitous crash. This particular end seems to be an excess of bad, disproportionate bad, unfair bad. Or maybe not. Maybe this—whatever this turns out to be—is exactly the bad he deserves…
He’s out on the moonlit lawn, barefoot and shirtless, sprinting through the cool dewy grass toward the glowing lights of the sprawling main house, toward the security guards and their weapons and their hotline to the federales, who at the very least will detain the intruder while Will has a chance to make a call or two, and now Will is feeling almost confident, halfway across the—
The fist comes out of nowhere. Will stumbles backward a half-step before losing his feet entirely, his rear falling down and his feet flying up, and he thinks he can see a woman—the woman—standing over him, her arm finishing its follow-through of a right hook, just before the back of Will’s head slams into the ground, and everything goes black.”
Soon the videotape is the least of his worries – soon he’s got secrets so big they will utterly destroy not just his marriage but his entire life. As he travels across Europe on travel writing assignments, his blackmail spy agreement has mushroomed into constant thoughts like Elle is going to own me and run me as a spy for the rest of my life, or until I get killed – whichever comes first.
As he performs more and more of these clandestine operations, Will’s marriage begins to seem more and more tenuous. And something else strange has begun to occur to him. There’s been a pattern to his Travelers assignments that oddly mimics the patterns of these spy assignments.
As he begins to dig into the odd patterns in the writing work his best friend and editor, Malcolm Somers, has been giving him, Will begins to realize he may have been a spy all along without even knowing it. But, if so, which country was he spying for and which country is he spying for now? There’s something really rotten going on, beyond the blackmail, and he’s afraid he may get killed just trying to find out what it is.
Will makes a really bad decision when he goes to bed with Elle – no question about that. He even knows in his alcohol befuddled brain that he’s probably going to regret it when he makes that bad decision but he makes it anyway. You’re probably thinking, What an idiot to throw his life away like that. Well, if he’d had a crystal ball and could have seen ahead of time where that decision would lead, no doubt he’d think the same thing. Will’s not a bad guy – he’s just a regular guy – he’s actually a pretty good guy most of the time. I haven’t told you anything about his wife, Chloe, to avoid spoilers. I’ll just say there’s a reason Chloe stopped working for Travelers, a reason Will knows nothing about, and leave it at that. And then there’s Elle – and let’s not forget about Malcolm. What are they really up to…and who are they?
A reoccurring theme running through Chris Pavone’s thrillers concerns how the things we don’t know about even those closest to us can cause problems – sometimes extreme life altering problems. He uses this unfortunate truth to drive his thrillers in a way that not only makes them believable but that creates enormous tension we can all relate to. I know now that when I pick up one of his books, like The Travelers, I might as well shut the door and turn off my cellphone because I’m going to be head-down in these characters’ lives until I turn the last page…and that the plot is going to linger in my mind for days afterward. Yes, they’re that good. If you like roller-coaster-ride thrillers with lots of hairpin turns and ordinary people caught up in events they never expected, you are going to love The Travelers. I highly recommend it!
Here’s a videotape of Chris Pavone speaking at a library this month. He’s talking about how questions he’s had about places he’s worked led to The Travelers, among other things. It’s quite long but I found it really interesting.
Can’t wait to read it? The Travelers is available in all formats from your favorite online bookseller. Just click the link below and you can download it to read instantly.
One lucky reader will win an ARC (advance readers copy) of The Travelers by Chris Pavone!
1) The deadline for entries is Saturday night, 4/2/2016, at 11:59pm EDST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible.
2) This giveaway is open to entries with U.S. mailing addresses only because we do not ship books outside of the U.S.
3) You must be at least 15 years old to enter this giveaway.
4) You must use the Rafflecopter form. Even if leaving a comment is part of the giveaway, you must use the form in addition to leaving the comment for the comment to count as an entry.
5) If you already follow PopcornReads on Twitter or Linky, you must still complete that part of the Rafflecopter form for your follow to count as an entry.
6) If you do not provide a complete mailing address in the Rafflecopter form, your entry will not be eligible. We will use your mailing address to ship your book to you. Please allow 2-3 weeks for book delivery.
7) That’s it – it’s a very easy giveaway, so have fun and best of luck!
Once you’ve entered our giveaway, click here to link to all of the other book-related giveaways in the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop!
And be sure to click here (and scroll down the page) to see our other book giveaways you may want to enter!