The Expats: Book summary and reviews of The Expats by Chris Pavone

The Expats

A Novel

By Chris Pavone

The Expats
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2012,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

Kate Moore is an expat mom living the expat life. In the cobblestoned streets of Luxembourg, her days are filled with play-dates and coffee mornings, her weekends spent in Paris and skiing in the Alps. Kate is also guarding a tremendous, life-defining secret - one that's become so unbearable that it begins to unravel her neat little expat life.  She suspects that another American couple are not who they claim to be; plus her husband is acting suspiciously; and as she travels around Europe, she finds herself looking over her shoulder, increasingly terrified that her own past is catching up with her. As Kate begins to dig, to uncover the secrets of the people around her, she finds herself buried in layers of deceit so thick they threaten her family, her marriage, and her life.

Intricate, riveting, and surprising, The Expats is a debut thriller of the highest caliber.

Quiet by Susan Cain

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Book Awards

  • award image Edgar Awards, 2013

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. An impressive thriller by first-time novelist Pavone, with almost more double-crosses than a body can stand... An enjoyable thriller with unanticipated twists that will keep readers guessing till the end." - Kirkus Reviews

"Starred Review. The sheer amount of bombshell plot twists are nothing short of extraordinary, but it's Pavone's portrayal of Kate and her quest to find meaning in her charade of an existence that makes this book such a powerful read." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Brilliant, insanely clever, and delectably readable, this debut thriller breaks the espionage genre bounds with its American-as-apple-pie heroine." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. European locales, information on private banks and cybercrime, and the particulars of expats' quotidian but comfortable lives ooze verisimilitude. A must for espionage fans." - Booklist

"I often thought I was reading the early works of Ken Follett, Frederick Forsyth, and Robert Ludlum. Smart, clever suspense, skillfully plotted - The Expats is a lot of fun to read." - John Grisham

"Bristling with suspense and elegantly crafted, The Expats introduces a compelling and powerful female protagonist you won't soon forget. Well done!" - Patricia Cornwell

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Cloggie Downunder
impressive debut novel
The Expats is the impressive debut novel by American author, Chris Pavone. Set mainly in Europe, the action switches between Paris in the present day and Washington DC and Luxembourg two years previously. Kate Moore quit her undercover job with the CIA, a job that was secret even from her husband, Dexter, to move to Luxembourg with him and their young sons, Jake and Ben. There, Dexter’s job as a systems security expert for banks could afford them a better income and an enviable lifestyle which included weekends in places like Paris and Amsterdam. As expats, they socialised mainly with other expats, and had soon formed a friendship with Julia and Bill Maclean. But Kate’s CIA training leads her to suspect that Julia and Bill are not what they first seem and she begins to wonder: are they are assassins? Are they investigating her for unlawful actions in her CIA career? Or are they after her husband? Which leads her to start wondering if Dexter has been completely truthful with her. As Kate makes certain discoveries in the present day narrative, she flashes back to two years ago, her exit from the CIA and their early months in Luxembourg, and certain events and conversations suddenly become startlingly clear.
This novel has a superbly clever plot full of twists and turns that has the reader guessing to the last line. Without giving away too much of the story, Pavone uses the present day narrative to sow enough seeds of intrigue to keep the reader engrossed in the action two years previous. Interestingly, Pavone writes from Kate’s point of view, something he does very competently. As the suspense built, I found myself more and more on the edge of my seat. Proof of Pavone’s excellent descriptive talent is that as I sat reading the window ledge scene, my legs were aching, my body’s usual involuntary reaction to being at unsafe heights. Occasional lighter moments are provided by the children and social interactions with other minor characters, but for most of the novel, the tension is high. Pavone’s first-hand experience as an expat is apparent from the way he effectively conveys the atmosphere of European cities and expat life: his characters are realistic and his dialogue, credible. The novel poses a few pertinent and topical questions: When is it OK to steal 25 (or 50) million euros? Are we deluded in thinking that our money can ever be safe? Who guards the guards? Is anybody ever what they seem to be? Does anyone ever tell the whole truth? This novel has been described as “Brilliant, insanely clever, and delectably readable.” I wholly concur.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Katherine
Believe the Great Reviews
This book really is as good as all the reviews say. I received an ARC and finished it in two days. The mystery is clever, the writing is good and the main character will make you imagine that you too could be an international spy. What could be better for your end of winter reading?

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Chris Pavone grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from Cornell. For nearly two decades he was a book editor, as well as the author of The Wine Log. Chris and his family spent some time living in Luxembourg, but recently returned to New York City. The Expats is his first novel. Visit him online at www.chrispavone.com.

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