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The Expats

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  18,419 ratings  ·  2,978 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
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by Crown
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The Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréThe Hunt for Red October by Tom ClancyThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
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169th out of 742 books — 1,198 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
"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
Apr 28, 2015 Carmen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Carmen by: Library
Should you be honest with your spouse? Is your spouse being honest with you? Are you SURE?

Everyone has secrets. It's just that some people's secrets are bigger than other people's. Kate Moore is a CIA agent. Her trusting husband Dexter doesn't know a thing about it - she's been lying to him for a decade while dating him, marrying him, and raising up their two sons.

But she's tired of her job. And just at that instant, Dexter comes home and tells her that he has a great opportunity to make money i
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
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....

You can take the girl out of the CIA, but you can't take the CIA out of the girl.

Kate secretly works for the CIA in Washington, until she has to resign when her husband lands a job in bank security in Luxemburg. Even then, once in their new home abroad, Kate cannot help but be suspicious of everyone she meets -- even her husband Dexter -- of being not who they appear to be. Another couple from America has wormed themselves into Kate and Dexter's life, and their actions are indeed suspicious. Act
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
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-sat
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
Sean B
I have to give the author credit: the story sucked me in and I had to finish it just to find out how it ended. Alas, there are many problems with this novel, including:

1. The main character, to be blunt, is an idiot. There is no way such a person could be in covert operations for the CIA. It was clear as could be what her husband was doing, and it took forever for the main character to do basic research that anyone with any intelligence would have immediately done.

2. On a related note, this nove
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
too boring....gave up after reading 100 pages during which absolutely nothing happened...and this is supposed to be a thriller?
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
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
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
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
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
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
Jun 01, 2012 Carol rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: debut
Expats is billed as an international spy thriller. It is the thriller designation which might have put me the mind that it would be fast paced. Not so, at least, at first for me. Expats started off slow but hit its stride somewhere in the last quarter or perhaps a bit before. I'm not certain if this was author, Chris Pavone's intent or just how it read for me. The uneven pacing almost lost this reader but I'm glad I continued.

Kate Moore, gives up her day job to become full time mother /housewife
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
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.

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
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I'm the author of the 2012 espionage thrillers THE EXPATS, which was a New York Times and international bestseller, as well as winner of both an Edgar and an Anthony Award; and 2014's THE ACCIDENT, also a New York Times bestseller. I'm married and the father of twin schoolboys; we live in New York City.
More about Chris Pavone...
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