The Expats

The Expats

by Chris Pavone
3.5 126

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Overview

The Expats by Chris Pavone

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
EDGAR AWARD WINNER  *  ANTHONY AWARD WINNER
BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE ACCIDENT

Can we ever escape our secrets?

In the cobblestoned streets of Luxembourg, Kate Moore's days are filled with playdates and coffee mornings, her weekends spent in Paris and skiing in the Alps. But Kate is also guarding a tremendous, life-defining secret—one that's become so unbearable that it begins to unravel her newly established expat life. She suspects that another American couple are not who they claim to be; her husband is acting suspiciously; and as she travels around Europe, she finds herself looking over her shoulder, increasingly terrified that her own past is catching up with her. As Kate begins to dig, to uncover the secrets of the people around her, she finds herself buried in layers of deceit so thick they threaten her family, her marriage, and her life.   
   Stylish and sophisticated, fiercely intelligent, and expertly crafted, The Expats proves Chris Pavone to be a writer of tremendous talent.

Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader’s guide and bonus content

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780770435721
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 01/22/2013
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 142,717
Product dimensions: 5.34(w) x 7.86(h) x 0.77(d)

About the Author

CHRIS PAVONE is a New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Edgar Award.  He was a book editor for nearly two decades and lives in New York City with his family. Pavone's second novel, The Accident is coming out in Spring 2014.

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The Expats 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 126 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
baba2 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Alla_S More than 1 year ago
"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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only thing I didn't enjoy was how the timeline went back and forth, which confused me. A very good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story, but terribly organized as to time and place
nfmgirl More than 1 year ago
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!
SuseNJ More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this story. Moving between "then and now" makes this intriguing and keeps you interested.
shayrp76 More than 1 year ago
*This is an advanced readers copy* Kate Moore is an expat mom living in Luxembourg when she realizes that there are secrets surrounding her daily life. Hiding her own, possibly life threatening, secrets she easily recognizes those of others. When it becomes apparent that her family is under the watchful eyes of those she considers friends she decides to get to the bottom of it. What she discovers is a dangerous web of lies that could destroy the life she was trying to build with her family. Kate was a likable protagonist and she was convincing as a wife a mother. The plot is interesting and original in my experience with this genre. I don’t want to give too many negatives as the copy I read was not the final print, but I have a couple of complaints that may have been smoothed over. It read slowly for me and it didn’t grip my full attention. The transition from past to present wasn’t smooth and I had to go back and see which period I was reading numerous times. Overall I liked it and I will be on the lookout for future work from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once you get into the story, you will be hooked . I stayed up until midnight reading way past my bedtime. What a adventure . Daisy
RonnaL More than 1 year ago
This double award winning mystery really appealed to me because part of the mystery was concerned around what the mystery was actually about, up until the final sentences of this different story. Basically we have an American family living in Europe--THE EXPATS.  Kate is the mother of two young boys, but she's also an ex CIA operative involved in some high level and questionable murders.  Her husband, Dexter, is an IT security genius, who is also a high level thief.  Both are living lies as they settle in Luxembourg, set their boys up in school, make new friends amongst the other expats, and take small trips around Europe. Neither parent believes the other one is anything but your typical American.  Then they meet Julia and Bill, and things begin to be exposed between these four people who are not who they seem to be.  Julia and Bill are actually FBI pretending to be regular couple amongst other expats. The "illegal secrets" become mixed up with "family secrets".  Even one of the young boys gets caught up in this. How will things get revealed safely?  How will the CIA and FBI solve their mysteries?  Who is everyone "really" when everything is revealed?  Will everything finally get revealed in the end?  Will everything end safely? I definitely believe this book deserved it's awards because it was not like any other book I've ever read.  The plot was deftly driven by the characters and timing of the revelations. The personal and private lives of CIA, FBI, and families made for a very compelling story line.   This double award winning mystery really appealed to me because part of the mystery was concerned around what the mystery was actually about, up until the final sentences of this different story. Basically we have an American family living in Europe--THE EXPATS.  Kate is the mother of two young boys, but she's also an ex CIA operative involved in some high level and questionable murders.  Her husband, Dexter, is an IT security genius, who is also a high level thief.  Both are living lies as they settle in Luxembourg, set their boys up in school, make new friends amongst the other expats, and take small trips around Europe. Neither parent believes the other one is anything but your typical American.  Then they meet Julia and Bill, and things begin to be exposed between these four people who are not who they seem to be.  Julia and Bill are actually FBI pretending to be regular couple amongst other expats. The "illegal secrets" become mixed up with "family secrets".  Even one of the young boys gets caught up in this. How will things get revealed safely?  How will the CIA and FBI solve their mysteries?  Who is everyone "really" when everything is revealed?  Will everything finally get revealed in the end?  Will everything end safely? I definitely believe this book deserved it's awards because it was not like any other book I've ever read.  The plot was deftly driven by the characters and timing of the revelations. The personal and private lives of CIA, FBI, and families made for a very compelling story line.  This double award winning mystery really appealed to me because part of the mystery was concerned around what the mystery was actually about, up until the final sentences of this different story. Basically we have an American family living in Europe--THE EXPATS.  Kate is the mother of two young boys, but she's also an ex CIA operative involved in some high level and questionable murders.  Her husband, Dexter, is an IT security genius, who is also a high level thief.  Both are living lies as they settle in Luxembourg, set their boys up in school, make new friends amongst the other expats, and take small trips around Europe. Neither parent believes the other one is anything but your typical American.  Then they meet Julia and Bill, and things begin to be exposed between these four people who are not who they seem to be.  Julia and Bill are actually FBI pretending to be regular couple amongst other expats. The "illegal secrets" become mixed up with "family secrets".  Even one of the young boys gets caught up in this. How will things get revealed safely?  How will the CIA and FBI solve their mysteries?  Who is everyone "really" when everything is revealed?  Will everything finally get revealed in the end?  Will everything end safely? I definitely believe this book deserved it's awards because it was not like any other book I've ever read.  The plot was deftly driven by the characters and timing of the revelations. The personal and private lives of CIA, FBI, and families made for a very compelling story line.     
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book title and cover are misleading. It is flase advertising Because it is not a spy noval and not a suspense thiller. The plot was weak and the characters where not like any real People and not any one you like or want to be freinds with. The idea that a CIA agent could marry a man, have two children and live with him for 10 years and not know what he does for a living requires more than just suspenion of belief. I should have stopped reading at that point. The Ending was likewise unbelieveable and disapointing. Would not recomend this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book alot. I really enjoy spy stories, and this story had many twists that kept me wanting to see what would happen next. I also love reading about a strong heroine, and the lead character is very likable and resourceful! Read and enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The flashbacks were confusing as there was no indication that's what those passages were. First they moved to Luxembourg, then suddenly they were living in Paris. I was disappointed in this book.
kiriandketa More than 1 year ago
Taut, well-written thriller from beginning to end. Keeps you on your toes about where the story is going, who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. A really terrific first novel from a new autor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked up the paperback recently while waiting to board a flight. I'm not one for the spy caper so I expected to choke it down in place of sleep and maybe leave it on the plane. Turns out I enjoyed it so much, i took my time in reading it just to savor it. Wonderful plot, imaginative characters. In fact, I loved it so much that when I left my paperback at home before work, I bought it again here so I could read it on my lunch hour!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I listened to this on audio book and so enjoyed all the twists and turns that I bought the book to enjoy again. Kate's husband, Dexter has announced that he has a chance of a lifetime opportunity to take a job in Europe. So Kate quits her job and they move with their two young children to Luxembourg. Dexter has provided few details of his new job, and yet, has good, logical reasons for keeping her in the dark. He's always been honest to the core. The story jumps back and forth between Kate's past and the present as she reveals secrets of her former occupation. She is suspicious of a couple who seem to be a little too friendly. Something about them seems off or is she just a little bored with her new life of mommy and housewife? Is Kate being paranoid or are there reasons for Kate to be suspicious? Can she ever really leave her past behind? Will her darkest secret come back to destroy her life? This book was very exciting and hard to put down. I hope Chris Pavone writes more!