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The Expats

(Kate Moore #1)

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  34,424 ratings  ·  4,084 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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Janet Who cares? Two of the most boring dull characters ever - how could anyone possible ever miss them?
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Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
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
Mar 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Should you be honest with your spouse? Is your spouse being honest with you? Are you SURE?

"Okay," she said. "I'll bite: WHY would we move to Luxembourg?"

"To make lots of money, and travel around Europe all the time." And there it was, the full, unrestrained smile. "Just like we always dreamed." The open look of a man who harbored no secrets, and didn't admit the possibility that other people did. This was what Katherine valued above all else in her husband.

Everyone has secrets. It's just that so
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
Nov 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Bonnie E.
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
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
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-4
Wow, this book was amazing! Kate Moore has worked in the CIA for close to fifteen years, but somehow managed to keep the whole thing a secret from her husband. After he suggests a move overseas, she decides it’s time to quit and devote her time to raising their young children, but strange things begin happening and Kate isn’t sure who or what she can trust.

This is a must-read for anyone who loves spy thrillers, and especially anyone who loves twists and turns and lies and questions of real or no
Everyday eBook
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“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
Dec 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
I first tried to read this book about a year ago and gave up after a couple of chapters because I couldn’t get into it, so I put it to one side for a later date, which turned out to be now. This time around I got as far as page 115 before I threw in the towel and ditched it. It is supposed to be a thriller but it really is an incredibly dull read about incredibly dull people doing incredibly dull things, which isn’t helped by the fact that the story is told in different times. It chops backwards ...more
Matthew Lerner
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
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
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Feb 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: kristen @rhode_reads in Instagram
I was looking for a book set in Luxembourg and was recommended this one! A woman who has kept her job a secret from friends and family has to move to Luxembourg suddenly when her husband takes a job there. They adjust to this new world where everyone is connected to banking in some way, many people don't seem to be who they say they are, and Kate is getting suspicious.
I was all in at the beginning of this story but I'm not sure I'm satisfied by the end. I'm still thinking about it. Sometimes ou
Sean B
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015

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
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dexter and Kate Moore move from Washington, D.C., to Luxembourg where he gets a job in cyber security. Kate quits her job at the CIA. Bill and Julia McClean (spelling?) are fellow expats living in Luxembourg. Kate becomes suspicious of her husband, Julia and Bill. She starts secretly investigating them, searching for answers. As her suspicions grow, her questions increase. Is her CIA training kicking in or is she letting her imagination run away with her? If her suspicions are correct, does she ...more
Karl Jorgenson
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
A snappy, clever, well paced suspense/thriller full of crooks, spies, and suspicious characters. Narrated by Kate, mother of two, wife of Dexter, she quits her boring, government research job to move to Luxembourg where Dexter has a better-paying but boring tech job for a bank. Only none of it is true; Kate was a CIA operator and Dexter has been up to something, and the FBI suspects him of a major crime. Even the neighbors are not who they seem to be.
Pavone has a lively, caustic voice that moves
Apr 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
too boring....gave up after reading 100 pages during which absolutely nothing happened...and this is supposed to be a thriller?
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.... ...more
Lance Charnes
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  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-s
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Alyx Hackebeil
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Can I give a book 4.75 stars? It's not perfect but it is a whole lot more deserving than just a mere 4 stars.
This was my first Chris Pavone read. I happened to come across this book at my local HEB grocery store, which has a fantastic book section considering it's also where I buy my milk and cheese :)
The cover caught my eye and the title seemed to intrigue. Anyhow I am so glad I ventured out on this one. An exciting novel of which I could have read in less than a week if I had more than 20 min
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: france, fiction, spy, europe
Despite a somewhat lukewarm recommendation from Jolene, Rachel N., and Joi, I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would. This would make a terrible book in audio. It jumps around a lot in small bursts to multiple time frames, many just four months to a year off. At we spend a lot of time in the protagonist's head - which I can see why Kate gets a bit unnerving. I wouldn't call her weak, whiny, and complaining - but she does border just a bit on insufferable. Look - I think it takes a lot of t ...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
May 29, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Umm..not bad! A good storyline revolving around dull characters (I’m an expat and believe me, an expat’s life is not as boring as the book claims😜)!

Considering the fact that this was Pavone’s debut novel and the sophistication of the plot, I’m pretty much satisfied. Calling this book a fancy thriller would be an apt description.

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CHRIS PAVONE is author of four international thrillers: THE EXPATS (2012), THE ACCIDENT (2014), THE TRAVELERS (2016), and THE PARIS DIVERSION (2019). His novels have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and IndieNext; have won both the Edgar and Anthony awards, and have been shortlisted for the Strand, Macavity, a ...more

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Kate Moore (2 books)
  • The Paris Diversion (Kate Moore, #2)

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In the new espionage thriller The Expats, an ex-CIA agent mom discovers cons within cons in a game of cat and mouse played out across the...
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