Monday, June 4, 2012

The Expats by Chris Pavone

Author: Chris Pavone
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Date of Publication: March 2012

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 way in a language she doesn’t speak, doing the housewifely things she’s never before done—play-dates and coffee mornings, daily cooking and unending laundry. Meanwhile, her husband works incessantly, doing a job Kate has never understood, for a banking client she’s not allowed to know. He’s becoming distant and evasive; she’s getting lonely and bored.

Then another American couple arrives. Kate soon becomes suspicious that these people are not who they claim to be, and terrified that her own past is catching up to her. So Kate begins to dig, to peel back the layers of deception that surround her. She discovers fake offices and shell corporations and a hidden gun; a mysterious farmhouse and numbered accounts with bewildering sums of money; a complex web of intrigue where no one is who they claim to be, and the most profound deceptions lurk beneath the most normal-looking of relationships; and a mind-boggling long-play con threatens her family, her marriage, and her life.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I got this book in the mail.  I'm not usually a spy novel reader, but I am always open to try a new author.  The Expats was an enjoyable book. It dragged in some spots, but the overall story was pretty good. The end was very good.  I never would have figured out the whole scenario on my own.  It was that convoluted. The book goes between "now" and 2 years earlier as Kate and her family make the move to Luxembourg and become expats. There are a lot of twists and turns in the book and you never know who to trust, including Kate.  You see, she is a former CIA agent who has been living a double life.

I liked it, but I didn't really care too much for Kate.  I thought she was a bit whiny. It felt like all she did was complain about being stuck home with 2 little boys. Yes, you used to lead an exciting undercover life, but this is the choice you made.  If you are that bored, volunteer.  Find some consulting to do. I also thought that she was a bit naive when it came to her husband.  I know that she had made a vow never to investigate him, but how can you be married to someone and not know where they work or who they work for?  That would have raised HUGE alarm bells with me right away and I am not a former CIA agent.  That wasn't what I would have expected from someone with that background and seemed off to me.

I listened to the audio and I thought it was very well done.  I enjoyed the narrator.  One final note: Most people play LEGOS (plural) not Lego.  Read it and see if that drove you as nuts as it did me.

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