Synopsis: 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 doesnt speak, doing the housewifely things shes never before doneplay-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 shes not allowed to know. Hes becoming distant and evasive; shes 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.
First Line: “Kate?”
Random Quote: This was typical of Julia’s discreet evasion. She never outright refused to answer a question, but rather responded without specifics, deflecting the question back at the asker, turning the conversation away from her own history without drawing any attention to the redirection. But that’s exactly what had captured Kate’s attention, aroused her suspicion.
Review: The Expats is a very stylish – chic, even – spy thriller. Set in Luxembourg, the story of Kate and the people around her spins and weaves and makes sudden, unexpected turns. It makes me think of the way people drive when they’re “shaking a tail.” It also makes for a great superstructure for the book.
Kate is ex-CIA, having quit a job she wasn’t enthralled with to move to Luxembourg with her husband, Dexter. Dexter doesn’t know her secret. The days in Luxembourg roll past as Kate tries to figure out what to do with her life, cares for her kids, and has coffees with other mothers in the expat community. Life is more complicated when she meets Julia and her husband – all Kate’s instincts tell her they are dangerous. She just can’t figure out how.
If you like your spy thrillers stylish and literary (think John LeCarre) this is a great book. You’ll appreciate the intricacies of plot and the prose. If you like your spy thrillers full of gadgets and macho men (think James Bond) you should try this – throwing shades of gray and deeper complexity into the mix makes the whole thing even more fun. Highly recommended.
I am pleased to be a part of Mr. Pavone’s virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours.
About Chris Pavone