The Travelers by: Chris Pavone
**** 4 out of 5 Stars
Review by: Mark Palm
More than a few people, myself included, would love to travel around the world, if they came into a fortune or won the lottery. Being paid to do the same, with your employer picking up your expenses in exchange for writing a few hundred words about your adventures, always making sure to remember that you are selling an escapist fantasy. That is the world of The Travelers, a gripping new thriller by Chris Pavone.
Will Rhodes works for Traveler magazine, and his job is to travel the world, attend parties, eat and drink the best food and booze, and then write about it. If it sounds like it’s too good to be true, it is. Will’s wife Chloe, who used to do Will’s job for Traveler, is looking for a new career, their house needs endless renovations that they can’t afford, they are swimming in debt and worst of all, their marriage is on the rocks.
So it’s no real surprise that Will is tempted when he meets the beautiful Elle, another writer who works for the Australian branch of the same magazine. She seems very interested in Will, and when they run into each other in Argentina the romantic tension is too much for Will, and he succumbs to temptation. Immediately afterward, Elle tells Will that she taped the encounter, and will show it to Chloe and ruin his life unless he does what she says. She then informs him that she will pay him ten thousand dollars a month to become a spy for the CIA.
While this is going on we are also following the stories of Will’s editor, Malcolm, and his right hand-woman, Gabriella, who both seem a bit more mysterious than the average executives, and an un-named woman who is undertaking her first assassination. Even though it’s not even a quarter of the way into the novel Mr. Pavone has a lot of plates spinning, and then things really kick into high gear as the plot goes into overdrive. Will begins his training, learning tradecraft and self-defense while continuing his old job, now with serious consequences. As we bounce back and forth from character to character and from location to location the level of drama and the depths of the intrigue just continues to grow without ever becoming over the top.