Ken Montville's Reviews > The Expats

The Expats by Chris Pavone
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's review
Apr 05, 2012

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Recommended to Ken by: Author Interview on NPR Talk Show
Recommended for: spy thriller lovers

Secrets, secrets, secrets.

Those we keep from strangers, from friends and family...and from our spouses. One secret and lie piled on top of others.

Ostensibly, that's what this book is about. Although, it's wrapped inside a financial spy thriller with the protagonist, Kate Moore, as a just retired CIA operative.

It seems her husband, Dexter, is a financial cyber security guru and has taken a job at a bank in Luxembourg which, evidently, is notorious for banking secrecy. So Kate quits the Agency to follow along and be the wife and mother (two small children) while Dexter brings home the bacon.

All is not as it seems, though. Kate and Dexter, now ex-pats (thus, the title), meet up with Bill and Julia who insinuate themselves into their lives. But, why?

Of course, Kate has never told Dexter what she really does and Dexter seems to have a few secrets of his own...and why did Bill and Julia show up all of a sudden with skimpy "cover" stories that can't easily be verified by a suspicious Kate.

Lots of twists and turns. Lots of layers to this big, bad onion.

It's an interesting book, a good first novel.

It does have it's flaws, though.

I kept thinking that the plot could be wrapped up a little more quickly than it took. I also realized that there was quite a few things that were just unbelievable even within the genre of CIA spy thrillers.

The author also had this annoying device of a flash forward where you knew something was being revealed but not really sure what. It would bounce back and forth to these flash forwards at the oddest and seemingly most random times. The book also had the requisite flash backs where the protagonist remembers events in the past that help explain her need to keep parts of her life secret from her husband and the father of her two children.

All in all, it's a good read an well worth taking the time.


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Reading Progress

April 5, 2012 – Shelved
April 18, 2012 – Started Reading
April 19, 2012 –
page 97
April 20, 2012 –
page 133
April 21, 2012 –
page 163
April 22, 2012 – Finished Reading

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