Customer Reviews for

The Expats

Average Rating 3.5
( 114 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(36)

4 Star

(28)

3 Star

(22)

2 Star

(20)

1 Star

(8)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

New first rate thriller

What started out as a predictable thriller quickly turned into a must read! Will there be another book, dare we say series. Get this book for your espionage collection!

posted by oakbridge on March 7, 2012

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Not as advertised

I purchased this book on the recommendation of an anonymous reviewer at Publishers Weekly who likened it to the works by Robert Ludlum and Jean le Carre. This author is nowhere in the same league as those two giants of the genre, whose works with which l am very familia...
I purchased this book on the recommendation of an anonymous reviewer at Publishers Weekly who likened it to the works by Robert Ludlum and Jean le Carre. This author is nowhere in the same league as those two giants of the genre, whose works with which l am very familiar. Shame on PW for allowing such a, dare I say phony, review to mislead serious readers. Either the reviewer did not bother to read "The Expats" or is not familiar with the works of Ludlum and le Carre before writing a bogus review.

I disliked this book for a number of reasons, foremost among them being that it wasted my time with the most boring real-time minutiae of everyday life of a two-dimensional former CIA assassin (totally unbelievable, by the way) turned housewife with two kiddies who lend nothing to the story line here other than to fluff out the word count; it took me 54 pages to figure out that all I should have been doing was reading the first few words of each paragraph to skip past the fluff, which brought me to about page 253 before I discovered any (barely) worthwhile prose to read.

There are four main characters in this book, including the unbelievable ex-spy housewife/mother, all of whom are two-dimensional and fit in very well with a weak story line that concludes in a ludicrous wind-down that had me thinking "huh!"

Anyone who is considering buying "The Expats" should be aware that this book is neither a "spy" novel nor a "thriller"; as some professional "reviewers" would have you believe. It is, in fact, a simple robbery story with a hackneyed line.

As a former magazine editor/writer and an avid reader of "spy" novels, among other genres, I learned that writers are born with a story-telling talent and the ability to put into print their yarns. This author has the talent to get a story legibly into print, but he needs to get a better handle on story and character development and have the dialog for each character easily identify said characters. The potential is there; it just has to be refined. Terseness counts more than lots of empty rhetoric (take a hint from the motion-picture industry); develop story lines that are both believable and interesting; ditto for characters and dialog; and please refrain from using high-falutin' words (and if you do resort such un-called-for urges, at least attempt to use them in correct grammar) that lend nothing to the story and have developing readers scrambling for a dictionary to look up their meanings. Don't use words just to show off your superior education and massage your ego; when you do this, it alienates your audience.

Would I read another book by this author? Perhaps--but only if my (hopefully constructive) criticisms are addressed.

posted by hariseldenAB on May 9, 2012

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 114 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 6
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    Not as advertised

    I purchased this book on the recommendation of an anonymous reviewer at Publishers Weekly who likened it to the works by Robert Ludlum and Jean le Carre. This author is nowhere in the same league as those two giants of the genre, whose works with which l am very familiar. Shame on PW for allowing such a, dare I say phony, review to mislead serious readers. Either the reviewer did not bother to read "The Expats" or is not familiar with the works of Ludlum and le Carre before writing a bogus review.

    I disliked this book for a number of reasons, foremost among them being that it wasted my time with the most boring real-time minutiae of everyday life of a two-dimensional former CIA assassin (totally unbelievable, by the way) turned housewife with two kiddies who lend nothing to the story line here other than to fluff out the word count; it took me 54 pages to figure out that all I should have been doing was reading the first few words of each paragraph to skip past the fluff, which brought me to about page 253 before I discovered any (barely) worthwhile prose to read.

    There are four main characters in this book, including the unbelievable ex-spy housewife/mother, all of whom are two-dimensional and fit in very well with a weak story line that concludes in a ludicrous wind-down that had me thinking "huh!"

    Anyone who is considering buying "The Expats" should be aware that this book is neither a "spy" novel nor a "thriller"; as some professional "reviewers" would have you believe. It is, in fact, a simple robbery story with a hackneyed line.

    As a former magazine editor/writer and an avid reader of "spy" novels, among other genres, I learned that writers are born with a story-telling talent and the ability to put into print their yarns. This author has the talent to get a story legibly into print, but he needs to get a better handle on story and character development and have the dialog for each character easily identify said characters. The potential is there; it just has to be refined. Terseness counts more than lots of empty rhetoric (take a hint from the motion-picture industry); develop story lines that are both believable and interesting; ditto for characters and dialog; and please refrain from using high-falutin' words (and if you do resort such un-called-for urges, at least attempt to use them in correct grammar) that lend nothing to the story and have developing readers scrambling for a dictionary to look up their meanings. Don't use words just to show off your superior education and massage your ego; when you do this, it alienates your audience.

    Would I read another book by this author? Perhaps--but only if my (hopefully constructive) criticisms are addressed.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    New first rate thriller

    What started out as a predictable thriller quickly turned into a must read! Will there be another book, dare we say series. Get this book for your espionage collection!

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 29, 2012

    As a life long 'ex-pat' with some familiarity with the CIA, the

    As a life long 'ex-pat' with some familiarity with the CIA, the diplomatic service, Europe and overseas living, I was eagerly looking forward to reading this book. I was very disappointed. The plot was convoluted and unbelievable, the chronological presentation was unnecessarily confusing, and the characters were generally unlikeable. Although I did finish it, it was very easy for me to put this book down.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    I appreciate the amount of work that goes into writing a novel,

    I appreciate the amount of work that goes into writing a novel, and the description of this one sounded promising, but I must admit that I really did not care for this book. The major reason is that I found the characters to be extremely unlikable so I didn't care what happened to them. The situations seemed ridiculously contrived--and where is the local color? Simply setting a story in Brussels with no real reason/cultural background didn't improve the plot. And excitement?? Suspense?? Where?? There were a couple of places that piqued my curiosity, but none that had me on the edge of my chair waiting to see what would happen. Again, the most notable fault I saw in this novel was the one-dimensional, not very nice characters. It was impossible to feel genuine sympathy/empathy with their actions, including the protagonist, Kate. I'm disappointed that I actually paid $12.99 for the Nook version of something I will probably permanently erase, because I can't imagine wanting to read it again.

    8 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    Very enjoyable read. Although I could put it down (reason for 4

    Very enjoyable read. Although I could put it down (reason for 4 rather than 5 stars), I found myself thinking about the story and anticipating the next time I could sit down and pick up where I had left off. Very well plotted and the lead female principal is well developed and believable. I would have no problem giving this book as a gift to friends. I look forward to the next book from this author.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Kate is an ex-spy adjusting to the normal life of a stay-at-home

    Kate is an ex-spy adjusting to the normal life of a stay-at-home Mom in a foreign land, who finds herself caught up in a mystery. Unable to give up her roots, she can’t help but investigate what is really going on. Strong, intelligent, surprisingly trusting for someone who spent years as a spy, she winds up feeling betrayed, not trusting herself, and not always thinking straight when she finds that she is too close to the subject.

    Dexter is the perfect husband and father, until the move to Luxembourg. Suddenly he is a workaholic, rarely available to the children or his wife. The roles have shifted, after workaholic secret spy Kate gives up her career to follow her husband to Luxembourg, where he is taking on new work. And suddenly the father that used to be at home all of the time is rarely home and a distance falls between him and the family.

    Further rousing his wife’s suspicions are their new friends Bill and Julia, a husband and wife from Chicago. Julia quickly becomes Kate’s best friend in Luxembourg, but questions are aroused.

    This is one of those stories where you are continually asking yourself “what if” and “what would I do”. It shows the fine line drawn through moral delineation and ambiguity. Hear one side of a story and you may think someone is morally bankrupt. Hear more of the story, and maybe what they do is justified, but hear yet more and perhaps you question their motives once again. “Morality” and ethics are not black and white.

    While not gratuitous, there is some vulgarity, sexuality and adult situations and content.

    My final word: This was a fun, smart story. It kept me entertained and challenged. I continually wondered what would happen next, but it was really light and fun. A clever story of suspense laid out in a very easy-to-read fashion. Part psychological thriller, part escapism, part cautionary tale and part pure entertainment, this is a really fun story!

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 20, 2012

    "The expats" by Chris Pavone follows Kate Moore, an ex

    "The expats" by Chris Pavone follows Kate Moore, an ex-CIA spy who quits her job and moves to Luxembourg with her husband Dexter--who is forced to re-locate because of his job, which involves computer security for banks. While in Luxembourg, Kate befriends another ex-pat couple, designer Julia and her currency-trading, hunky husband Bill. As Kate makes a new life for herself and her sons in the gorgeous foreign land, she begins to suspect that her beautiful adventure has a secret side.

    For one, Dexter spends entire days away from her in his office--but won't name the company he's working for, nor the details of his job. As Kate's friendship blossoms, she begins to suspect that Julia is not who she says she is. Gradually, hers and Bill's friendship becomes too close for comfort. And to further complicate matters, Kate becomes terrified that her CIA past might be catching up with her.

    Throughout the book, Pavone jumps from the present to the future and there's some foreshadowing going on. But what I appreciated the most, is Pavone's beautiful descriptions of Western Europe (there's a lot of globe-hopping going on), tied in with the continuing suspense. I like suspenseful mysteries in exotic lands, and this book definitely held my interest.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2012

    Disjointed

    Good story, but terribly organized as to time and place

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    Really enjoyed this book

    The only thing I didn't enjoy was how the timeline went back and forth, which confused me. A very good read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    Interesting but Flawed

    This is a woman character as written by a man with a poor sense of the female mind. And I'm not talking about frilly-girly stuff here, just the regular old business of being female. All he had to do was get some advice from some no-nonsense women and everything might have been okay. The female protagonist constantly behaves in ways that make no sense for a female.

    There are also some really glaring (and silly) mistakes regarding the whole ex-pat experience. If you are being paid enough to live in a 3-bed, 3-bath flat in Lichtenstein, you do NOT whine about having to clean 3 bathrooms. You hire a Frau, who comes in twice a week and does that sort of thing for you. There are loads of them around from the poorer EU countries like Slovenia and Portugal.

    Also, the reader is meant to believe that this couple loves one another oh-so-much (because we're constantly told that this is the case...) but they exhibit no real communication. They both lie through omission, sneak around, fool one another, are suspicious of the other one, and out and out lie. But in the end are still supposedly deeply in love and want to wander the earth together. This struck me as completely ridiculous. Marriages are both more and less complicated than the author portrays. I understand that he was trying to serve up a different sort of thriller about spies and spying, etc. But he continually falls into the worst pitfalls of thriller writers: wooden, unbelievable characters with little more than a wisp of personality.

    Interstingly enough, my own husband actually works in a subset of the same type electronic banking business that is the husband Dexter's career. Because of this, it made it hard to read because it was fairly obvious to me that Pavone was just making it up as he went along. He actually makes that clear at the end of the book, so I let him off the hook just a bit. But I will say this, if you think that financial institutions (including giant, international trading institutions) put as much effort into security as Chris Pavone portrays, you're sadly mistaken.

    And finally, I'm sick and tired of authors that ultimately let their characters make off with piles of stolen money simply because they didn't do something as "evil" as someone else. John Grisham was a champion at this early in his career, and it's time for this to stop happening. It's a total cop-out and a cheat and is disrespectful of readers' intelligence.

    I can't give it 2.5 stars, so I'm giving it 3. In spite of its faults it was still interesting enough that I might pick up Chris Pavone's next book, hoping for a more polished version of his talent.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    As an ex-patriot living in Europe (albeit not an ex-spy) I thoug

    As an ex-patriot living in Europe (albeit not an ex-spy) I thought this book would be a lot of fun to read. Instead, I found it completely implausible. First, the main character, Kate, is just not believable as an ex-CIA operative. She makes too many stupid mistakes during the story. Would an ex-CIA agent just give her car keys to someone she just met or use her home computer unmonitored? I think not. The final part of the book where is all is revealed was just flat out implausible to me. And of course, since I am actually an ex-patriot, some of the inaccuracies in the details were annoying. For example, there is a scene where the US embassy asks for a Luxembourg work permit. It is never explained why they even go to the embassy in the first place. I've worked in two different countries and the US embassy has never asked me for my local work permit. This plot point could easily have been accomplished by having the landlord ask for a residency permit which does happen in Europe. On the plus side, it is a fast read and some of the descriptions of ex-patriot life are pretty accurate, but I just couldn't get past the implausibility of the whole thing.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2012

    Good story

    Enjoyed this story. Moving between "then and now" makes this intriguing and keeps you interested.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 31, 2012

    This book was trite. It was incredibly predictable and the endi

    This book was trite. It was incredibly predictable and the ending was a complete cop-out. I was annoyed I spent any money on this book and wasted my time reading it.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2012

    A quick and sensational read. You will be deeply entertained and

    A quick and sensational read. You will be deeply entertained and surprised. I highly recommend.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    Electronic Transfers

    This book confirms my long-held belief that electronic financial transactions aren't secure. The narrative is at times compelling, and the writer's descriptive powers are formidable. But in my opinion, he creates more of a tale than he can possibly finish in a single book. And although the children are necessary to this particular intrigue, his treatment of them (and of their mother's responsibilities while alone with them) is simply implausible. Obviously he's never had to find a sitter in a strange country on very short notice! -- catwak

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent, high-quality thriller. Unique plot, several big twis

    Excellent, high-quality thriller. Unique plot, several big twists, unpredictable turns. Suspenseful and interesting. Yet quiet, subtle. Interesting use of chronology. Only for the intelligent reader.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Every marriage has its secrets . . .

    This entertaining read smartly explores the idea that there are secrets we keep from our spouses and from ourselves. Although the plot developed a bit slowly in the first 100 pages, once the book hit its stride I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2012

    Fabulous!

    Though not all of the details were immediately clear, that is part of the charm (and maybe the intention?) of the book. This was a great story and I am eagerly anticipating the next by this author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2012

    Slow read for most of book, had trouble keeping interested, too

    Slow read for most of book, had trouble keeping interested, too many people & places,confusing. ending OK

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    Disappointing

    I went with the endorsement of an author whose books I have enjoyed and hoped for better. I didn't really care much about the characters and found the story rather boring. I kept waiting for something to happen but it never really did. The jumping back and forth through time was confusing.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 114 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 6