Mon
Jan 9 2017 2:00pm

The Travelers: New Excerpt

Chris Pavone

The Travelers by Chris Pavone is a pulse-racing international thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Expats and The Accident (available January 10, 2017).

Read this exclusive excerpt from The Travelers by Chris Pavone, and make sure you're signed in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of the novel!

It’s 3:00am. Do you know where your husband is?

Meet Will Rhodes: travel writer, recently married, barely solvent, his idealism rapidly giving way to disillusionment and the worry that he’s living the wrong life. Then one night, on assignment for the award-winning Travelers magazine in the wine region of Argentina, a beautiful woman makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Soon Will’s bad choices—and dark secrets—take him across Europe, from a chateau in Bordeaux to a midnight raid on a Paris mansion, from a dive bar in Dublin to a mega-yacht in the Mediterranean and an isolated cabin perched on the rugged cliffs of Iceland. As he’s drawn further into a tangled web of international intrigue, it becomes clear that nothing about Will Rhodes was ever ordinary, that the network of deception ensnaring him is part of an immense and deadly conspiracy with terrifying global implications—and that the people closest to him may pose the greatest threat of all.

It’s 3:00am. Your husband has just become a spy.

PROLOGUE

MENDOZA, ARGENTINA

The door flies open. Bright light floods into the dark room, framing the silhouette of a large man who stands there, unmoving.

“What?” Will demands, raising himself onto his elbows, squint­ing into the harsh light. “What’s going on?”

The man doesn’t answer.

“What do you want?”

The man remains in the doorway, saying nothing, a mute looming hulk. He surveys the hotel room, the disheveled bed, discarded clothing, burned-down candles, wine bottle and glasses.

“¿Qué quieres?” Will tries.

Will had been lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, worrying. But not about this, not about an intruder. Now Will’s mind is flooding with com­peting scenarios and their different levels of emergency: drunk hotel guest, confused night porter, hotel security, jealous boyfriend, burglar, murderer.

Will’s panic is rising, and his eyes flicker toward escape, the French doors that he opened just a few minutes ago, doors facing the vineyard that falls away from the hacienda, with the snowcapped peaks of the Andes in the distance, under the big fat moon. He pulls himself to a sit­ting position, uncomfortably aware of his bare chest. “Who are you?” he asks assertively, trying to project confidence. “Why are you here?”

The man nods, takes a step forward, and pulls the door closed behind him.

The room falls into the semidarkness of flickering candlelight and the bright blue LED glow of the clock, 2:50 a.m. Will’s eyes readjust while his heart races, his breath coming quick and shallow, fight or flight, or both. His imagination hops around the room, trying out different items as weapons, swinging the standing lamp, breaking the wine bottle. A fireplace tool—the poker—would be the best, but that’s on the far side of the room, on the other side of this trespasser, this indistinct peril.

“No,” the man breaks his silence. “Why are you here?”

The man’s hand finds a switch, a soft click and a harsh transformation, Will’s pupils contracting a sliver of a second too slowly. In the light, Will realizes that he has seen this man before. He can’t remember where, or when exactly, but it was sometime recent. This discovery feels more like a defeat than a victory, as if he has found out that he lost something.

“Who are you, Will Rhodes?”

The man’s English doesn’t have any trace of an accent, Argentine or otherwise. This is a big beefy American who’s continuing to walk toward the bed, toward Will, slowly, menacing. It takes a while; it’s a large room, luxuriously decorated and extravagantly linened, with superfluous fur­niture and wine-country knickknacks and signifiers of the Pampasmounted horns, a cowhide rug. It’s a room designed to remind well-off guests of where they are, and why they’re here, when they could be any­where. Will has stayed in many different versions of this room, all over the world, always on someone else’s tab.

“Are you robbing me?” Will inventories the valuables he might lose here, and it doesn’t amount to much.

“Kidnapping?” No one except the most ill-informed amateur would take the tremendous risk of kidnapping for the paltry rewards that could be traded for Will Rhodes. This guy doesn’t look like an ill-informed ama­teur.

The intruder finally arrives at the bedside, and reaches into his jacket. Will scoots away from whatever potential threat is being withdrawn from this man’s pocket, in the middle of the night, halfway across the globe from his home, from his wife, his life.

If Will had any doubts earlier, he doesn’t anymore: he’s now positive he made a terrible mistake tonight. The whole thing seemed too easy, too perfect. He’d been an idiot.

“Look,” the man says, extending his arm, holding something, a little flick of the wrist—here, take this—and the smartphone falls into Will’s palm. He glances at the screen, a still image, an indecipherable blur of faint light amid darkness, unrecognizable forms in an unidentifiable lo­cation.

“What’s this?”

“Hit Play.”

Will touches the touchscreen, and video-navigation buttons appear, the recently invented language we all now know. He hits the triangle.

A video begins to play: a naked woman straddling a man, her hips pistoning up and down, like an out-of-control oil derrick, a dangerous situation. Will watches for two seconds, just enough to figure out who it is in the poor-quality video, low light, an oblique angle, garbled audio. He touches his fingertip to the square button. The image is now frozen, the woman’s back arched, head thrown back, mouth open in ecstasy. Appar­ent ecstasy.

Of course.

Will isn’t entirely surprised that something bad is happening. But 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 appropriate level of bad.

His mind runs through a handful of options before he makes a deci­sion that’s by necessity hasty. He considers trying to get on more clothes—“Hey, how about you let me get dressed?”—but clothed, he might look like a threat; wearing only pajama bottoms, he’s a victim, sympathetic to the guard he hopes to encounter. This new hotel takes security seriously, peace of mind for their intended mega-rich clientele, with round-the-clock rent-a-cops and a close relationship with the police.

Will extends his arm to return the phone, rolling his body toward the bedside.

Here we go.

When the man reaches to collect his device, Will hurls it across the room.

The intruder spins to watch the phone’s flight—crack—while Will springs up, heaves his body into this man, knocking him over, landing atop him, pajama’d legs astride the guy’s bulky torso, a punch to the face, and another, blood pouring from his nose.

Will hops up, barely feeling the engagement of his muscles, his blood­stream flooded with survival-preservation hormones. He flies through the parted curtains. 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 fist comes out of nowhere. Will stumbles backward a 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.
 

Reprinted from THE TRAVELERS Copyright © 2016 by Christopher Pavone. To be published by Broadway Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, on January 10.


Comment below for a chance to win a copy of The Travelers by Chris Pavone!

To enter, make sure you're a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.

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The Travelers Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at http://www.criminalelement.com/stories/2017/01/the-travelers-new-excerpt-chris-pavone-comment-sweepstakes beginning at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) January 9, 2017. Sweepstakes ends 1:59 p.m. ET January 16, 2017. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

 

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Chris Pavone is the New York Times bestselling author of The Expats and The Accident. He is the winner of the Edgar and Anthony awards for best first novel. He was a book editor for nearly two decades and lives in New York City with his family.

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135 comments
John Smith
1. jsmith2jsmith
This sounds like an exciting book! Thank you for the contest!!
Tatiana deCarillion
4. decarillion
When I saw the title, I thought it was to be about travelers/gypsies and that was a bit intriguing. After reading the excerpt, I'm even more excited to find that the actual story appears rather exciting!
Sandra Slack
9. mz.pembroke
Thanks for the chance to win this interesting book.
JAMES LYNAM
12. jpl123456
Perfect for a great read on a cold Winter night read.
Tammy Z Evans
13. tzevans
sounds amazing! really want to read this.
14. Shannon Baas
I would like this.
15. Michelle Garrity
This looks like a great book!
Michael Carter
17. rubydog
This sounds really good.
Please enter me in this sweepstakes.
Thanks ---
18. Pam Foster
Have really enjoyed Chris Pavone's earlier books. Looking forward to this one!
20. Wendy Rinebold
Sounds like this will be hard to put down!
Elizabeth Vollbach
22. techeditor
I've been meaning to read a Pavone novel since THE EXPATS. I sure would appreciate winning this one. If I do, I'll review it, as I do all books I read, and post the review to various Internet sites, such as goodreads.com, librarything.com, amazon.com, and others.
Emma Cazabonne
23. wordsandpeace
This book has been for a while on my TBR. thanks for the chance to win a copy!
24. zuluniner
Thanks for the preview!
27. Georgia
Looks like an exciting read.
John Davis
28. John
Tense...keeps you guessing. Mysterious....keeps you wondering. Good extract from the book. Look forward to it!
Laura McDonald
29. bonnieclyde
I loved The Accident and The Expats, he is a great thriller author. I am looking forward to this one for sure!
Joyce Lokitus
30. Joyce710113
Love that this action book involves travel to several different interesting places. I'm intrigued as to whether the large man who entered the room with the phone was there as a threat or there to warn against a threat. Would love to read more. Thank you!
Joyce Lokitus
30. Joyce710113
Love that this action book involves travel to several different interesting places. I'm intrigued as to whether the large man who entered the room with the phone was there as a threat or there to warn against a threat. Would love to read more. Thank you!
Rena Sollish
32. Rena
Looks good! Would love to win this.
Carolyn Bybee
35. CSB
I have read all of Chris Pavone's books, including this one. All are great reads!
Sally Schmidt
36. bigcootie
Sounds very exciting. New author to me, can't wait to read.
Judy Woodruff
39. sweetjudyblue
I would thoroughly enjoy reading this book. Thank you
Janice Santillo
40. themommazie
spunds very intriguing. think I'd like to read.
41. Peg Nitskoff
Looks like you either got to travel extensively or did a huge amount of research for the venues of this book! Very interested in reading this.
Jean Dickinson
43. justjean
"Travelers" by Chris Pavone would make my armchair traveling very interesting!!
44. Paula Simpson
Already has my pulse beating! Sounds exciting!!
Polly Johnson
49. majorpj2
I got chills just reading this excerpt. Can't wait to read the whole thing.
Polly Johnson
49. majorpj2
I got chills just reading this excerpt. Can't wait to read the whole thing.
Linda Simons
53. Solver
I love the travel aspect of this thriller as a travel writer becomes a spy. Oh yes I want this book.
Sally Kohlenberg
55. SallyK
Love his earlier books. If this is half as good it will be a winner!
Sally Kohlenberg
55. SallyK
Love his earlier books. If this is half as good it will be a winner!
Sally Kohlenberg
56. SallyK
Love his earlier books. If this is half as good it will be a winner!
Mary Ann Woods
60. puttputt1198eve
I really like international thriller books. This sounds like a good one!
Sandra Furlotte
61. skfurlotte
Sounds like a great book with plenty of action.
Clydia DeFreese
62. clydia
Thanks for the sweepstakes. I'm ready for a new direction in my reading.
Barbara Bolam
63. Toodles
Why or why did you leave us hanging just as things were getting interesting!
Barbara Bolam
63. Toodles
Why or why did you leave us hanging just as things were getting interesting!
Janet West
64. janetwest
I would love to read the rest of the book!
Kyle Johnson
65. kylecar94
Looks like this one will be a lot of fun!
susan beamon
68. susanbeamon
I've been trying ti win a copy of this book since it first came out. Hope this is the big win for me.
T Alexander
69. Talex
This sounds like an interesting read, I would like to read this book.
Terrie Ash
71. teria222
Sounds like something I would like to read.
Lori Provenzano
74. Mountainesque
Definitely raised the hairs at the back of my neck! Delving into this story would be the only way to alleviate this.
75. Barbara Raeuber
This is just the kind of book I love!
78. bonbon
Can't wait to read this, sounds great!
80. bonbon
Looking forward to this!
81. Diana Meyer
Look forward to reading this book.
82. Beverly Laude
Thanks for sharing!
83. ssnbawin
This sounds terrific! Would love to win.
Vicki Andrew
84. vandrew
thanks for the chance, looks like a good read
Cheryl Greenleaf
85. cgreenleaf
Right up my alley! Thanks for offering this sweepstakes.
Deb Philippon
87. DebP
Sign me up for this book! Wish me luck!
Chi Shannon
89. anastasiafall
Sounds exciting!! I'd love to check this out :)
Timothy Anderson
90. lycoan
Reads so far like it's going to be action packed and suspense filled. I'm hyped.
Jathan Fink
91. Jazzkat25
This looks like a thrilling read. Can't wait to read more. :)
vicki wurgler
92. bison61
an offer he can't refuse and then your husband is a spy, love to read this
Jane Schwarz
93. Janeschwarz
Wow! First rate action and now I need to find out who they all are and what happens next. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.
Linda Sprencel
97. lindabeads
LOVE his books! Needs to shorten the time between releases.
98. Stephanie Liske
I would love to win!
Melissa Keith
99. melly801
OMG. Please take me across Europe. I need the trip!
Susan Smoaks
100. susansmoaks
thank you for the chance to win, i love to read.
L
101. LStirling
I love travel, and always enjoy stories that take me places, especially when you throw in some intrigue and questionable choices!
103. Linda A
International espionage, yes!
Linda Peters
104. linnett
I am always looking for new thrillers to read, thanks
Linda Peters
104. linnett
I am always looking for new thrillers to read, thanks
Connie Rowe
105. reading4me
I want to win this to find out what happens, count me in.
Karen Terry
106. bblol65
It sounds like a good old fashion thriller.
Karen Minter
107. Muscoe22
Mystery, suspense, and international intrigue - what a terrific combo!
connie black
113. epblack
Would love this read for my husband.
connie black
113. epblack
Would love this read for my husband.
Jerry Marquardt
114. versatileer
The Travelers: New Excerpt looks like an outstanding book. Thanks for throwing this Sweepstakes!
Annette Estell
115. AEKZ2
I loved The Expats, so I'm sure this book is just as good.
Annette Estell
115. AEKZ2
I loved The Expats, so I'm sure this book is just as good.
Buddy Garrett
119. garrettsambo
It sounds like an interesting read. Thanks.
Beth Talmage
121. wordygirl
I've been looking for a compelling read, and I think I've found it!
Philip Lawrence
122. Pooch
I alawys like ones that take place in an exotic region.
123. Julyct
Read the excerpt and I am already hooked.
Jeffrey Malis
124. bravejam
Looking forward to reading more... Thank you for the excerpt and the entry opportunity!
Mark Bailey
126. stromboli
I love this kind of book. It always keeps you reading and wanting more.
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