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The Expats by Chris Pavone

Pub Date:

The Expats
Chris Pavone

Crown
03-06-12
Hardcover/336 pages
ISBN: 978-0-307-95635-4
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". . . fast-paced intriguing contemporary novel."

As a spy mystery reader, I was outraged after the first few chapters of Chris Pavone’s first novel, “The Expats.” His clues were obvious. Protagonist Kate Moore, a trained CIA operative wasn’t suspicious when a new acquaintance in a foreign country asked for the keys to her car or the use of her computer. I wanted to scream at the pages that Julia Moore was clearly planning a tracking devise and installing spyware.

But actually Pavone was purposely misleading the reader in this well-crafted plot on cyber hacking. And although it isn’t until the middle of the book that Kate discovers she’s be conned by Julia and her make-believe husband Bill, this novel is ladened with suspense.

Pavone offers a unique style to push the narrative. The prelude, entitled “Today,” set in Paris, is interspersed within the main narrative propelling the reader through a gripping maze. Kate’s husband Dexter has secured a job in Luxembourg. They move with their two children to Europe, where Dexter ends up working odd hours and days, including Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile the Moores, who have befriend them strike Kate as not genuine.

Through her former CIA connections she learns Julie and Bill are FBI agents. Chasing who? Kate thinks a mistake in her past career is the reason, but discovers it is Dexter the FBI suspects of a cyber theft. Why had she not been suspicious? Because if she suspected her husband was lying, somehow she’d get caught in her own lies.

The deceptions tumble around in this “cops and spies” mixed in with drug lords, delivery of military arms and the national banking system. The clues at the outset, after all, do not deter from the shocking ending when guns are drawn in a Paris cafe, nearly two years after the two couple first met in Luxembourg, or had they known each other before? A fast-paced intriguing contemporary novel.

Reviewer: Kate Padilla