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280 of 295 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars impressive debut novel
From an uncorrected proof copy
The Expats is the impressive debut novel by American author, Chris Pavone. Set mainly in Europe, the action switches between Paris in the present day and Washington DC and Luxembourg two years previously. Kate Moore quit her undercover job with the CIA, a job that was secret even from her husband, Dexter, to move to Luxembourg with him...
Published on 12 Mar 2012 by Cloggie Downunder

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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok. Readable.
This is not a bad book & the premise is Ok. My main criticism is that the flitting back and forth between Paris and Luxembourg is unnecessary & actually just detracts from the main plot as you have to keep checking where you are in the story - especially if you have to put the book down for more than 2 minutes! Also, I thought that Kate came across as more desperate...
Published 22 months ago by lordy


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280 of 295 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars impressive debut novel, 12 Mar 2012
By 
Cloggie Downunder (Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Expats (Hardcover)
From an uncorrected proof copy
The Expats is the impressive debut novel by American author, Chris Pavone. Set mainly in Europe, the action switches between Paris in the present day and Washington DC and Luxembourg two years previously. Kate Moore quit her undercover job with the CIA, a job that was secret even from her husband, Dexter, to move to Luxembourg with him and their young sons, Jake and Ben. There, Dexter's job as a systems security expert for banks could afford them a better income and an enviable lifestyle which included weekends in places like Paris and Amsterdam. As expats, they socialised mainly with other expats, and had soon formed a friendship with Julia and Bill Maclean. But Kate's CIA training leads her to suspect that Julia and Bill are not what they first seem and she begins to wonder: are they are assassins? Are they investigating her for unlawful actions in her CIA career? Or are they after her husband? Which leads her to start wondering if Dexter has been completely truthful with her. As Kate makes certain discoveries in the present day narrative, she flashes back to two years ago, her exit from the CIA and their early months in Luxembourg, and certain events and conversations suddenly become startlingly clear.
This novel has a superbly clever plot full of twists and turns that has the reader guessing to the last line. Without giving away too much of the story, Pavone uses the present day narrative to sow enough seeds of intrigue to keep the reader engrossed in the action two years previous. Interestingly, Pavone writes from Kate's point of view, something he does very competently. As the suspense built, I found myself more and more on the edge of my seat. Proof of Pavone's excellent descriptive talent is that as I sat reading the window ledge scene, my legs were aching, my body's usual involuntary reaction to being at unsafe heights. Occasional lighter moments are provided by the children and social interactions with other minor characters, but for most of the novel, the tension is high. Pavone's first-hand experience as an expat is apparent from the way he effectively conveys the atmosphere of European cities and expat life: his characters are realistic and his dialogue, credible. The novel poses a few pertinent and topical questions: When is it OK to steal 25 (or 50) million euros? Are we deluded in thinking that our money can ever be safe? Who guards the guards? Is anybody ever what they seem to be? Does anyone ever tell the whole truth? This novel has been described as "Brilliant, insanely clever, and delectably readable." I wholly concur.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok. Readable., 31 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Expats (Kindle Edition)
This is not a bad book & the premise is Ok. My main criticism is that the flitting back and forth between Paris and Luxembourg is unnecessary & actually just detracts from the main plot as you have to keep checking where you are in the story - especially if you have to put the book down for more than 2 minutes! Also, I thought that Kate came across as more desperate housewife than CIA stalwart. Overall, I did enjoy the storyline - but it could have been a hell of a lot better.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darned good read, 4 Oct 2012
By 
Ms. J. M. Wilson (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Expats (Kindle Edition)
I thoroughly enjoyed this spy novel after purchasing it on a whim as it was only 20p. Just goes to show that not all the 'cheapies' are rubbish.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - highly recommended, 21 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Expats (Kindle Edition)
Initially, I wasn't going to buy this because of some of the negative reviews. However, I am so glad I did. This is one of the best books I have read this year.

Well-written, good grammar plus a story that kept me enthralled all the way through, with twists and turns that were well thought out.

It is fast-paced and does jump from location to location, but that is part of the tension-building and isn't difficult to follow.

I hope the next one will be as good. I am sure someone will buy the film rights to this.
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73 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Write more like this, please!, 21 Mar 2012
By 
Kiw1 (New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Expats (Kindle Edition)
I found The Expats unputdownable. Chris Pavone has created a superb portrayal of a successful career woman who follows her husband away from job and career. Kate, though, is ex-CIA, and not just any old CIA employee, but an ex 'wet' operator, who goes through the difficult transition from professional to Mummy that so many of us have gone through - but nothing can take the CIA operative out of this stay-at-home mother. We follow her suspicions and her acute observations throughout the unfolding of the story as the tension increases chapter by chapter, all set in the context of a loving home with husband and two good little kids. And we agonise with her about some of her former activities. Pavone keeps us on the edge of our seats as the story switches back and forth in time, with questions being asked and answers appearing at different times and in various circumstances.

And I liked the ending. This is a book that has stayed with me - the characters and the plot. On thinking back, the characters are consistent and believable, something I can't say about many thrillers. Definitely to be recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Irritating which is a shame......, 24 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Expats (Kindle Edition)
I really want to like this book as I can see it has potential. I have somewhat out of character decided to write a review when I am only 36% through. But I am finding it so irritating I am not sure if I'll finish. I am a pretty intelligent person but I currently seem to be spending at least 1 to 2 pages working out where and what time i am in, every 5 pages.... Luxembourg now, Luxembourg past, Washington now or past, random visits at the weekend to other countries past or Paris now...... I realise it will all become clear at some point and to be honest I think I quite like it. But seeing as I can't read this book in one sitting. I don't really know whare I am each time I start reading. Could be easily solved if the writer seems quite so keen to constantly flit about to maybe say where you are and the date at each change of venue. Maybe it's the kindle formatting and is clearer in the book? Don't know.... Just getting bored.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a bargain, 3 Nov 2012
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This review is from: The Expats (Kindle Edition)
When I first clicked on this book i thought "For 20p you can't really go wrong". Before I started I was a little bit skeptical about the quality of the storyline and although I liked the description I wasn't sure whether this would result in a worthwhile read. But right from the start it had me gripped - and it just continued to improve. The only small criticism I would make is the amount of times it switches between past and present. After a while you get used to it though, and it actually makes the reader think about what has happened in-between. Plenty of clever twists along the way and Pavone manages to keeps the reader interested until the end.
Quite possibly the best 20p I have spent. For this price, everyone should give it a go.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A good story but ...., 20 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Expats (Kindle Edition)
Rather confusingly told. The plot is good. Characters almost believable but the flitting between times of the story not always clear and the main character, Kate,is not totally likable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacklustre, 6 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Expats (Kindle Edition)
I can't say I enjoyed this book. It seemed that the author was too aware that the plot was unbelievable, with too many coincidences and characters that didn't feel real. In my opinion, if you are going down the spy thriller with lots of plot twists route - then just go for it. The Expats however shied away from this so when the plot twists came, they seemed disappointing and obvious. It was well written and easy to read, but did find myself skipping pages and hoping for the end, when I was hoping for a gripping page turner!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 1 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Expats (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed reading this story and would have given it 5 stars but I did not appreciate the confusing time-hopping between chapters. I don't think this added anything to the plot and I think a linear approach would have worked well. Having said that, the characters and story line are well drawn and I particularly liked the descriptions of Luxembourg, a city I know well. Excellent value for money.
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