Andrea’s Pick of the Week: Two Nights in Lisbon by Chris Pavone

This pulse-pounding thriller grabbed me from the first page and did not let go! Ariel Pryce, middle-aged wife and mother from New York, wakes up in her Lisbon hotel room one morning to find her husband, John Wright, unexpectedly missing. Almost immediately, she goes to the police and to the American embassy, but neither takes her concerns seriously – it’s too soon, he could just be at work, she’s just being hysterical. Yet as the hours pass and John doesn’t appear, it becomes clear that something really is wrong – but what? Is his disappearance real, or just a setup? And who really are Ariel Pryce and John Wright? The suspense built with each turn of the page as I raced along with the characters trying to find answers. 

Pavone is a master of the international thriller, creating a multi-layered plot against a tantalizing foreign backdrop. His books are invariably exciting and smart. Two Nights in Lisbon switches back and forth between Ariel’s present crisis, her past, and the points of view of the law enforcement personnel working on her case, but it’s never confusing. There’s also a dose of moral commentary underlying the breakneck plot. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this is a book planted firmly in the #metoo movement, and in a good, thought-provoking way. Pavone has a real knack for writing female characters. Ariel is fierce, smart, and determined; she may not always be likable, but she is captivating and believable. I was fully invested in her story, regardless of who she turned out to be.  

If you like books with intrigue, strong characters, and intricate plotting, put Two Nights in Lisbon at the top of your summer reading list. 

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