The Expats
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The Expats

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3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  13,411 ratings  ·  2,371 reviews
Kate Moore is a working mother, struggling to make ends meet, to raise children, to keep a spark in her marriage . . . and to maintain an increasingly unbearable life-defining secret. So when her husband is offered a lucrative job in Luxembourg, she jumps at the chance to leave behind her double-life, to start anew.

She begins to reinvent herself as an expat, finding her wa...more
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by Crown (first published 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeanette
I don't know how to say "lukewarm" in Luxembourgish, but that was my response to the book. The story has a lot of structural problems that could have been cleared up with aggressive editing. Part I is a complete mess structurally, changing venues and time frames every page or two, sometimes every couple of paragraphs. This makes it hard to follow and keep track of the people and narrative pathways. It does smooth out later in the book, but is still in need of reorganization.

Chris Pavone had an...more
Maureen
This book is a perfect example of why I do not put any stock into the endorsements on the book jacket from other authors. The book jacket for this novel has glowing quotes from John Grisham and Patricia Cornwell among others. After reading this book I am convinced that these quotes are just paid for endorsements without the author really reading this book because this book was horrible. It was boring, the writing was pedestrian, the characters were one dimensional, and there was zero suspense. T...more
Tony
Nov 12, 2011 Tony rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: novels
Presumably the main purpose of a thriller is to provide thrills -- unfortunately, this one does not. I have no earthly idea why John Grisham's blurb compares it to "the early works of Ken Follett, Frederick Forsyth, and Robert Ludlum" because not only is it not in the same league, it's not in the same sport. Christopher Reich's blurb makes the claim that the book is a "jet-fueled story that rockets from one corner of the globe to another." This is curious characterization of a book where the act...more
Pamela
I received this book as a Firstreads novel and I'm so glad I was given the opportunity to read it. As an Expat myself, I was especially intrigued by the parallels I could draw with the author having myself spent 2 years in the Netherlands. The descriptions of Amsterdam and the Dutch were spot-on! Down to the minutest detail...it was neat to read that the author's first impressions of the canals, the cobblestoned streets, the parking procedures...equalled ours. To quote a paragraph from the book:...more
Bonnie E.
I was excited to read this book given all the good press which it had received. And I had not read a top notch spy novel in quite some time. By the time I finished this book, however, I concluded that I had read a good spy novel but not a very compelling one.

First of all, the story was written through the eyes of Kat (or Kate), a former CIA agent who quits her career and moves to Luxembourg with her husband and two small children. She then begins to discover that her husband is not entirely wha...more
Everyday eBook
“Everyday eBook.” If there’s one novel in the world that should appear on a website with this name, it’s my debut, The Expats. Ridiculous claim? Bear me out:

It’s four years ago. My wife comes home one night and asks, “What would you think of living in Luxembourg?” Like you, I never, ever considered living there; I wasn’t entirely sure where — or what — Luxembourg was. But this was a good time for me, and for our family, to pick up and move. So we did.

And so there I was, no longer a book editor a...more
Philip
WARNING - THIS REVIEW INCLUDES SEVERAL SPOILERS: Having myself lived in Brussels for a few years with my family as expats, I'll give Mr. Pavone credit for nailing those portions of the story. I really enjoyed his highlighting many of the joys, surprises, annoyances and other telling details of living as a foreigner in northern Europe, (which according to the book's jacket the author himself did). However, while he does well with those sections written from experience, he is much less successful...more
Larissa
I was looking for a fast, fun read for a vacation that I took recently took and when The Expats (which, incidentally, was just listed as one of Bill Ott's 'Best Crime Novels: 2012' in Booklist) caught my eye, I thought it would easily fit the bill. But this book was pretty much a disappointment from start to finish. The set-up is promising, but the whole novel is sloppily structured and written and the conclusion is not only silly, it's also pretty lazy on the resolving details. (For instance, "...more
Ellen Keim
How can there be so much difference of opinion about the same book? Simple: it's all in what you see in it. If you're looking for a spy thriller, you're going to be a bit disappointed. Yes, this is about covert ops and cyber crime, but that's almost incidental. What the story is really about is secrets. What do you do when you have secrets? How do you act? How do you feel? How long do you keep them? How do you reveal them? What if you know someone's secret but have to act as if you don't? And mo...more
Matthew Lerner
Unfortunately, I didn't love it. The Expats came highly recommended and sounded like a great story. Such potential!

In a nutshell, the heroine of Chris Pavone's book, Kate, vacates her seemingly happy life in Washington, D.C. and travels oversees to start anew with her husband and two children (two boys who, although underutilized, became my favorite characters). Ultimately, Kate, (SPOILER!) an ex-CIA agent, uncovers life-altering secrets about her husband and his surreptitious work abroad. The...more
K
"NOOOOO!!!!" shouts my inner snob. "Don't do it! No more than three stars! This is a terribly flawed book! Just look at that low average goodreads rating!"

And really, for a lot of the period I was listening to this book I agreed. But in the end, I had to go with a four star rating for the simple reason that, despite its many flaws, this was an engaging and interesting book to listen to. I don't know, listening to this on audio while I drove or did housework just worked for me, confusing though t...more
Mercedes
This was well written AND a page turner. Don't you love that? It falls into the spy thriller genre. I also loved the ex-pat context, having lived that life myself and remembering....
Lance Charnes
Apr 13, 2014 Lance Charnes rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Fans of kitchen-sink spy drama
If John le Carré had been Jeanne le Carré, s/he might have written The Expats . It has a similar interiority, a similar emphasis on life's betrayals small and large, and is centered around of piece of clandestine business that starts as a nagging doubt and becomes a life-upending drama for the major players.

Kate, our protagonist (it's a bit hard to call her "our heroine"), finds her less-than-satisfying life as a government worker in Washington D.C. suddenly transferred into a far-less-than-sati...more
Laurie
Expats is a fun, quick read. When I picked the book up, I didn't understand that it was a spy novel, so I had no expectations other than to let the story unfold. Having recently moved back to the US after an almost three year stint as an expat in the Benelux region, I found Chris Pavone's description of the area and aspects of the lifestyle rang true. Pavone's narrative switches between a current point of view and past recollections of the main character. Although a change in typeface helps the...more
CMack
I always enjoy a sophisticated thriller’s intrigues between the usual suspects— secret agents, bankers, criminals-- and Chris Pavone’s The Expats has accomplished that and more, keeping you guessing. That said, perhaps some of my favorite parts of the book are the bonus domestic intrigues between Kate and Dexter and their circle of friends. (If you’ve ever surreptitiously peeked into your partner’s planner or email, rooted around a few pockets or desk drawers not knowing what you are looking for...more
Andrea
This book was, unfortunately, mostly boring. I kept reading because I knew that something was going to happen eventually, but when it did it was not particularly exciting. Basically, you spend three-quarters of the book inside the head of the main character while she's wondering if anyone will figure out all the secrets. We jump back and forth in time, which is disorienting, and every time important information is about to be revealed, we switch back to a different time. We don't really get clos...more
Vicki
This is a spy thriller with a twist. The protagonist is a woman who is recruited to the CIA while a college student. Single and without a close knit family, she is a natural for the job. It is easy to keep secrets, as there is no one in her close circle to lie too. After she has served several years, she meets a young man whom she recognizes to be a good man whose love and fidelity she would not have reason to doubt. They grow closer, eventually marry and have a couple of kids, but she never tel...more
Kendra
So I borrowed this book from work, not actually knowing what it was about. I was drawn in by the cover and a recommendation from one of my managers, and didn’t even read the back of the book before starting it. This element of surprise did help make things more intriguing at first, but it unfortunately didn’t save me from Chris Pavone’s heavy-handed hints about the plot. I’m finding that too many authors lack subtlety these days; there’s a difference between foreshadowing and FORESHADOWING, and...more
Nancy
4.5 Stars

I love "Chuck," the television show. This is similar but also incredibly unique. The story takes place over a two year time period with flashbacks from years ago. Kate, the protagonist, is CIA, although no longer doing the dirty work when her husband suddenly announces they are moving to Luxembourg. It's country. In Europe.

Dexter is a computer geek who works in computer security for the banking industry. Luxembourg is for bankers. In order for them to move, Kate needs to have a thorough...more
Lena
I'm not a big reader of spy novels, but the reviews for this one caught my attention because I have an interest in expat communities.

The novel tells the story of Kate, a desk-working CIA agent who quits her job to follow her husband to Luxembourg, where he has acquired a new, highly paid banking security job. Once there, Kate attempts to put her old life - and some of its more haunting moments - behind her to become a full-time expat mom.

Her decision to do so is thwarted by a combination of her...more
Lian Dolan
This is a fast-paced, foreign-based spy book featuring an appealing female main character, an upclose look at marriage and an appealing foreign setting. The book is billed as a thriller, but I think that's a strong statement. The story and the situation does keep you turning pages but it lacks a certain life or death kind of set-up. Instead, we get a fascinating look at a marriage and domestic life filled with secrets. My sister was an ex-pat for many years and this book imagines what I always...more
bookczuk
I admit it. I'm a total sucker for debut novels. I also love novels set "from off", as we say here in Charleston, referring to anywhere beyond the lowcountry of South Carolina, as they often allow me to do a little mind travel to places I'd like to visit. The setting of Luxemburg is what drew me to this novel, as well as the promise of a mystery. I carried this with me to several waiting rooms for various appointments, and several coffee shops, and each place, someone commented on the title.

Kate...more
Richard
Feb 11, 2013 Richard rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anyone who likes thrillers; stories with unrevealed secrets.
Recommended to Richard by: I read a review.
For all those who have read this and had a hard time knowing when the action was taking place, I would suggest you look at the top of the first page of that chapter to see if it says 'Today' and a time, or 'Two years earlier', it is some time that fills in the story line. That's the nice thing about real books; you can turn the pages back and look.

Yes, the tale flips around. Have you seen a movie in the past 40 plus years? There are usually some quick cuts of changes in scene or point of view. V...more
Jeffrey
The Expats by Chris Pavone, although not without some flaws, is a very enjoyable fresh take on the male dominated espionage novel. Kate Moore, a former government employee, is a mother of two sons, who, along with her husband, has moved overseas to live in Luxembourg, while her husband pursues an apparent job as a computer security consultant. The title of the novel refers to Americans, who are living as expatriates or Expats overseas. As Kate’s husbands spends long periods at his new job, Kate...more
Julia
Kate is a CIA agent who has always kept the true story of what she does a secret from her husband, Dexter. When he receives a job offer from a bank in Luxembourg, it seems the right time to leave her job, enjoy spending time with her young children and get to know Europe. Adapting to life as an expat in Luxembourg isn't always easy. Her husband works long hours, she struggles with the language barriers and the tedium of everyday life. When she meets a fellow American expat, Julia, she initially...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I suppose it's inevitable that my streak of winning reads comes to an end. Sadly, this thriller just didn't catch my interest and I DNF'd at 103 pages after many fits and starts.

Essentially, American Kate moves to Luxembourg when her husband gets a lucrative job working with the banks there. As she is having professional angst, the move gives her an out. In Luxembourg, however, things aren't as they should be, stuff from the past shows up, secrets secrets secrets, etc. (I'm fuzzy on what the end...more
Clint Cypert
This was a very fun book to read. Chris Pavone captured my interest early on in this novel and kept my interest until the end. The Expats follows the story of Kate Moore, who is a former CIA employee. She quits her job to move to Luxembourg after her husband accepts a job there. Things go well at first for the Moores, but then their past comes back to haunt them. I am not sure how I felt about the ending, but it was a very entertaining read. The novel alternates between the past and present, as...more
Steven Salaita
This is the worst kind of book: a boring spy thriller.

Pretty much everything about The Expats is terrible--the prose, the tone, the structure, the characterization, the setting, the pace--but my favorite part of the story is when Kate, the narrator, compares her journey from the US to Luxembourg, where she will live in luxury accommodations and have no need to work as her husband pulls in a mil or so each year, to the immigration experiences of Arabs/South Asians/Africans to Europe or Latinos t...more
John Norman
For a first novel, this is quite good. The author's emphasis is on the interior monologue of a woman who is an expat in Luxembourg with her husband, a security consultant. It is revealed very early that she is also ex-CIA....

The novel has two halves: The first half where the protagonist pieces together the complicated hidden relationships between herself, her husband, and her friends, and then a latter part which is essentially the narration of a big con (think: The Grifters, but with more a spy...more
Mrs. Nelson's
Chris Pavone's wonderful debut kept me guessing with every page - fans of spy thrillers should check out this exciting new author!
--Review by Lauren
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I'm the author of the espionage thriller THE EXPATS which was a New York Times and international bestseller, as well as winner of both an Edgar and an Anthony Award. I'm married and the father of twin schoolboys; we live in New York City and the North Fork of Long Island. My second novel, THE ACCIDENT, will be published in March 2014.
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