"Super-suspenseful, addictively twisty, and 100% unpredictable, this exhilarating revenge thriller sees an American couple’s pasts slice to the core of international politics."
Wowsers. It’s kind-of a cliché to praise quality thrillers for being unpredictable and un-put-down-able, but Chris Pavone’s Two Nights in Lisbon delivers both those qualities with outstanding style. Reeling with smart misdirection, and raising questions around how well we really know people, Two Nights in Lisbon is a twisty rollercoaster of a read.
The unnerving scenes of an American woman, Ariel, waking-up in Lisbon to find her husband gone soon veers in a direction you won’t see coming, setting the tone for the rest of the novel. Just when you think you’ve figured out what kind of story this is — bam! A new nugget comes to light and you’re hurtled down an entirely different track. In Lisbon for a vacation around her new husband’s work trip, Ariel reports his disappearance to the local police, and then the US Embassy. Neither are particularly interested at first — he hasn’t been gone that long, maybe he’s off with a mistress. A tonne of everyday explanations could account for his absence. But it’s not long before the stakes are raised — think changed identities, NDAs, and a murky situation in which it seems that no one’s who they claim to be.
As Ariel remarks, “We tell ourselves stories about each other, about ourselves too, our pasts. We construct our narratives, we start with the big picture and then add details one by one, like building a house”, ending up with something “that looks like it’s been there forever, even though it’s a brand-new fabrication”. And, having built a new life for herself, Ariel is forced to return to her past if her new husband is to have a future, and all the while she has her son back home to worry about, “one of the reasons that Ariel felt like she’d been living on high alert, waiting for some bad thing to happen”.
Diving headlong into male abuses of power, and touching on how we leave digital footprints even if we try our damndest to be digitally invisible, Two Nights in Lisbon is a triumph.
|Thriller and Suspense