A Book Spy Review: ‘The Paris Diversion’ by Chris Pavone

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The Paris DiversionIn the latest thriller from Chris Pavone, all hell breaks loose in Paris, but as Kate Moore is about to find out, not everything is as straightforward as it seems. 

Front and center, next to the Louvre, Mahmoud Khalid is ready to strike another blow to the once peaceful city. Khalid, an assumed jihadist armed with a suicide vest strapped to his body, is ready to die—taking countless lives with him. The question, though, is why?

On the ground is Kate, a deep-cover CIA operative whose job is a secret even to her husband, Dexter, and their children. After dropping her kids off at an international school, she goes about her morning as she normally would, making plans for a dinner party all the while actually working for the American government as a plant in Europe. And when Paris once again breaks out in sirens—just as similar bomb threats pop up across the globe—she’s once again called to action and tasked with figuring out just what in the heck is going on. 

As Kate begins looking into the attacks on Paris, her husband, who has plenty of his own secrets that he hopes to keep hidden, is planning another money-making scheme in hopes of digging them out of the hole his last sketchy business venture left them in. So too is 4Syte CEO Hunter Forsyth, a wealthy businessman who planned to vastly increase his fortune that morning before he was hit with a tech blackout, knocking out his phones and other communication devices. Worse yet, Hunter’s police protection detail were all forced to leave their posts at his home in order to respond to the situation unfolding at the Louvre Museum.

As Kate races to do her job, tapping her plugged-in and well-connected sources along the way, she discovers a link between Dexter and Hunter, which may be possible to connect to the attacks . . . and may even signal that something bigger is about to go down. 

Pavone does a lot of things really well. A terrific writer, he paints a beautiful picture on the page, bringing Paris right to life for readers, who—through his plentiful, vibrant descriptions—will feel like they’re there with Kate as things unfold. Likewise, in addition to his clean prose, he knows how to spin a solid mystery, and his latest will no doubt keep readers guessing along the way until he’s ready to reveal the truth. On the other hand, the secondary cast of characters is rather large, resulting in too many of them feeling just slightly underdeveloped. Also, those who didn’t read his 2012 thriller, The Expats, may struggle to get up to speed on Kate and her family and have an especially hard time buying Dexter’s aloofness, for lack of a better term. Those are very minor complaints, however, and shouldn’t be an issue for anyone willing to suspend their disbelief—and those who do will have a seriously fun time. 

As the title alludes to, not everything is what it first seems in The Paris Diversion, the latest twisting, suspense-filled thriller from veteran bestselling author Chris Pavone. 

Book Details

Author: Chris Pavone
Pages: 496 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1524761508
Publisher: Crown
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Book Spy Rating: 8.0/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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One comment

  1. I had much the same criticisms. There’s a lack of clear-cut connections between all the characters to the main plot of the story. Several of them didn’t need to be point-of-view characters I felt. As well I kept thinking people who hadn’t read the first book would’ve been lost as to all the character developments with Kate and Dex. I also had a criticism that the main antagonists felt forced. It felt like a wasted opportunity to have the villains turn out to be who they were. I actually groaned at that reveal.

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