Thursday, March 29, 2012

THE EXPATS by Chris Pavone

I am not a spy novel fan.  I've never really been drawn in by one although I do enjoy the occasional spy/action thriller movie.  I was attracted to THE EXPATS because of its female protagonist and its promise of a convoluted mystery in its plotline.

At first glance, Kate Moore seems to be your average working mother.  Her husband works in financial security and she spend her days trying to find that elusive balance between work and motherhood.  There is also the matter of her little secret.....she works for the CIA.  When her husband gets a lucrative job opportunity in Luxembourg, Kate jumps at the opportunity to let go of her complex life and take up her new identity as an expat-housewife.  As Kate and her family begin to settle into their new life as expats in Luxembourg, she encounters an American couple who have just moved to town.  Kate begins to suspect that they are not what they seem and fears her mysterious past may be catching up with her.  As she begins to unravel the truth surrounding her new friends, Kate realizes that there may be more to this mystery than she bargained for.

I found this book to be very readable. I was drawn in by the story and I loved the complexity of Kate's life and all the secretiveness surrounding it. The story is an excellent reminder of how everyone has secrets---both big and small---and you don't need to be a secret agent to have a complex life.  The story was solid and the ending satisfying but I was little disappointed with Kate's character.  For an ex-CIA agent, she seem pretty inept.  She can't successfully pull of even the most basic surveillance and that rang false to me.  She seemed more goofball than spy.   Kate's family and her relationship with her husband were much more compelling.  To me, the relationships were more interesting than the thriller aspects of the book.

BOTTOM LINE:  Recommended with reservations.  Parts of the book were a little disappointing but it was still very readable. It would make a great vacation read.

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