Paris, 9:17 a.m.: A Middle Eastern man walks into the Louvre courtyard, wearing a suicide vest and carrying a briefcase. Across the Seine, Kate Moore (expat housewife, frustrated American intelligence agent) hears the sirens and wonders what has happened, and whether it has anything to do with her. Meanwhile, Kate's husband, Dexter, is preparing for one of the biggest stock-trading days of his career, as his former colleague Hunter Forsyth, tech CEO, readies himself for a huge announcement. But none of these people, or their actions, are exactly what they seem. Chris Pavone returns to the setting and protagonist of his debut novel, The Expats, in his fourth propulsive thriller, The Paris Diversion.
Pavone (The Travelers, The Accident) plots his narrative as tightly as a labyrinth of Paris streets, its threads twisting, doubling back and occasionally intersecting in surprising ways. He combines international political posturing, round-the-clock television coverage of terrorist events (real or potential) and the machinations of global tech companies with the quieter domestic drama of two marriages long plagued by secrets and lies. Adding a compelling layer are the minor characters and settings: a Louvre sniper called Ibrahim, a quick trip to an unnamed but highly recognizable Left Bank bookstore, several women who are much more than their administrative job titles suggest. Readers may think they know how Pavone's smart, stylish story will turn out, but his gift for illusion (rendered in crystal-clear prose) means nothing is certain until the last page--if then. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams