Nancy's Reviews > The Expats

The Expats by Chris Pavone
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's review
Mar 09, 2012

really liked it
Read in March, 2012

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 exit interview which takes a couple of weeks and quite the CIA. She also needs to pack up her entire house and two small children and move to a country she has barely heard of. By the way, she's never told Dexter what she does. Actually, she lied to him. She's also harboring some secrets from her CIA days that bother her conscience.

So the family moves to Luxembourg. Once there, Kate finds that things are not what she thought they were. Her CIA training comes in handy but what I love about this protagonist is that she is not a super spy. She has the basic CIA training and she has skills that are believable. She isn't a black belt in karate. She can't fly. She a normal, stay-at-home mom who is beginning to resent Legos and questioning her purpose. However, she also believes she is being followed and wonders if it has something to do with her long-ago crimes. She is also having doubts about Dexter, the boring man she married who seems to have an awful lot of secrets.

Bottom line is that the story was much more believable than the regular spy novels. Kate is having the internal angst of working or staying home and the twists and turns are incredibly fun and interesting. The ending was satisfying and I thought the male author captured the maternal instincts very well. He also provides a realistic picture of the banking industry, computer security, Western Europe, and the day to day grind that is not always romantic or exciting. Yet perceptions and experiences can alter a person's truth.
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