A goddess with shady connections to the intelligence community. Drinks. Sex. Bullets. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Pavone picks up where The Expats (2012) left off, a storyline that’s not James Bond, not quite—or, if so, maybe the rueful James Bond with a dash of the John le Carré of The Tailor of Panama for seasoning. Will Rhodes is a travel writer who’s done a bit of everything to land a story, including jumping from planes and otherwise endangering himself. Now, at the risk of his liver, he’s drinking his way across the continents, and along the way, uber-sexy Elle puts the moves on him: “Won’t you join me for the superfluous drink you know you want?” she purrs, and the wheels start to spinning. Regrettably—well, he has regrets, anyway—Will is a married man. That’s no obstacle to Elle, not much of one for Will, and not even much of one for his patient wife, who turns out to have resources of her own. Does Will not see that he’s being played? No, of course not, not until he’s had to leap from a rooftop or two (shades of Quantum of Solace) and stare down the irritated Elle in murderous secret agent mode: “Why the fuck did I have to chase you to the ends of the earth?” she harrumphs, the answer being, of course, to fill out a few hundred pages. It’s not at all bad, a movie waiting to happen, if perhaps too reminiscent of kindred vehicles starring Brad and Angelina and Daniel Craig, but there’s nothing unexpected in the enterprise, either: of course Elle is fantastic in the sack, of course Will knows more than he lets on even while playing the schmo, of course his doubtful wife (“He possessed so very much proof that he was a CIA asset, but she was unwilling to let him provide it”) is going to complicate what, in the end, is a pretty simple yarn: sex, mayhem, and then more of both.
Derivative, but well-written—and plenty entertaining.