Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Expats - Chris Pavone - Review AND Giveaway

Chris Pavone's debut novel The Expats has been nominated for an Edgar Award - Best First Novel. And with good reason - it's a real page turner.

Kate Moore has a secret - she's worked for the CIA since she left college. Along the way, she decided she wanted a family and married Dexter. Nice, safe, comfortable Dexter - of course she fully investigated him. And they've been blessed with two little boys. When Dexter gets a job offer in Luxembourg as a banking security specialist, Kate decides it's finally time to quit and just be a mom and wife. But can one really ever leave that kind of life behind? Will the past let you quit? And is your husband really who you thought he was?

Kate joins the ranks of the expats in Luxembourg, trying to learn the language, navigate a new country and deal with the loneliness -  Dexter's job keeps is keeping him away from home more and more. For a male writer, I thought Pavone nailed Kate's emotions - the boredom, the frustration, the loneliness, the uncertainty that she's made the right choice.  But old habits die hard and Kate finds herself second guessing everyone she comes into contact with.

Secrets is the name of the game here - everyone has them and the winner is the one who can figure them out first. Pavone certainly keeps the reader on their toes. He's chosen to tell the story in two narratives - past and present. Different typefaces help us distinguish which is which, but I will admit that I had difficulty in the beginning. In the present day narratives, we (mostly) know what has happened. Switching back to the past, we know more that Kate does as she tries to figure things out. But we still don't know it all - Pavone provides lots of twists to keep the story moving.

I enjoyed having a woman as a protagonist in a 'spy' novel and I liked Kate as a character. There were a few times when an obvious clue seemed to elude her that I thought was out of character, but this is a minor complaint.

The Ex-Pats was an excellent cat and mouse game, with the roles changing constantly between four main players. I can see this as a movie. Read an excerpt of The Ex-Pats.

OR - Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy for yourself!
Open to US and Canada. Ends Feb. 23. Thanks to Crown Publishing.

Pavone himself has lived in Luxembourg and I think this added an extra level of authenticity to his settings and descriptions of both this country and others nearby.
Wondering how the book came to be? Check out this feature from Crown Publishing. You can find Chris Pavone on Facebook.

See what others on the TLC Book Tour thought. Full schedule can be found here.


rhonda said...

Just my type of book!!would love to read

Karen B said...

I love a good thriller and THE EXPATS sounds intriguing!


traveler said...

This novel sounds compelling. thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Liz V. said...

Always enjoy a good spy novel. Thanks for the giveaway.

Nicole said...

This is one that looked good but I was on the fence about. Glad to learn more about it.

petite said...

Thanks for this giveaway. Great book and review. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

LisaMM said...

The premise of this book sounds so good to me! Thank you for being on the tour; I'm glad you liked it!

Icewineanne said...

This book sounds fantastic, right up my alley. Hopefully I'll be one of the lucky winners!

donna said...

Sounds interesting. Would like to read it.

lag123 said...

I want to know more about the secrets!

lag110 at mchsi dot com

carol said...

It's been a while since I read a good spy story and Kate sounds like a character I could enjoy. Thanks for the chance to win.

carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com