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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In Chris Pavone's "The Expats," Kate Moore is stunned when her husband, Dexter, announces that they are moving from Washington, D. C. to Luxembourg, "the private banking capital of the world." Dexter is a "computer nerd," a security expert who finds and plugs breaches in banks' computer systems. Dexter assures Kate that the move abroad will entail a sizeable increase in income. In addition, their two sons, Jake and Ben, are young enough (five and four) to adapt to a big change. Kate quits her job and joins the members of the expat community living the good life in Europe.

Before long, Kate suspects that something is wrong. Dexter is away far too often, and he is deliberately vague about his actions. In addition, two other ex-pats, Julia and Ben Maclean, arouse Kate's suspicions. They seem to be monitoring her movements; she wonders what they are up to. Kate contacts a former colleague, starts snooping around, and learns that all is not as it seems.

Pavone nicely depicts how unsettling it is to be uprooted from one's familiar surroundings. His fine descriptive writing (including lovely snapshots of scenic European locales) and clever dialogue are effective and engaging. However, Kate's character presents a problem. She has supposedly spent many years conducting covert, hazardous, and violent missions, one of which ended in disaster. However, Kate comes across as an anxious and harried housewife as well as a clumsy sleuth. This does not square with the persona of a daring individual who has, for the most part, handled thorny situations with aplomb. Kate claims to love Dexter's earnestness and his "un-ironic, un-arch, un-bored, un-cool, [and ] un-studied" personality, but the two consistently lie to one another.

The tone of the novel is off, as well. It's not a thriller, since there are few thrills. It's not a domestic drama, since there is little drama. "The Expats" is, at best, a puzzle in which the reader knows what Kate is up to, but does not understand the big picture until Pavone offers a lengthy and far-fetched explanation. It would have helped if Kate and Dexter were more three-dimensional and if the novel contained more action and excitement. As it stands, "The Expats" is a mildly entertaining but implausible caper involving layers upon layers of deception.
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on March 25, 2012
After reading many gushing reviews extolling the bountifulness of this tome and a starred review in Pub. Weekly, I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of this book. What a disappointment! With slow and plodding writing, the main character, Kate, comes across as a bit of a dullard. She's allegedly an ex-CIA top-line spy and assassin. If she's indicative of the caliber of folks who populate the ranks of America's CIA, then God help us all. And her dim-witted investigation into her husband's behavior was quite childish. Not to mention that her suspicions about her husband were more like a contrivance, as her husband's behavior didn't come across as very suspicious at all. The publicist/marketing activities for this book were clearly an accomplishment far better than the book itself. Makes one wonder about reviewers in Pub. Weekly and about those who deliver 5-starred accolades on Amazon for tripe like this (maybe all submitted via pseudonyms by the publisher?). Save your money. This is an over-hyped piece of dreck.

Fred G.
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VINE VOICEon February 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Although this is Chris Pavone's debut novel, it was enthralling and kept me flipping pages well into the night as the layers of deceit from numerous sources unravel in this mesmerizing espionage thriller.

A descriptive writer and outstanding storyteller, Pavone kept me guessing who the bad guys and good guys were. There are more twists and turns in this adventure that any rollercoaster that I have ever ridden.

For 15 years, Kate Moore has led a secret life. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her computer geek husband, Dexter, and her two young children. They have no idea that she is a Central Intelligence Agent. Dexter is involved in some kind of computer security employment that she does not understand other than he travels a lot and they struggle to make ends meet.

As the years have passed and her family has begun to grow, she has become less comfortable with the dangers she encounters and is haunted by her actions. When Dexter tells her of an opportunity to move to Europe in the quaint town of Luxembourg and the promise of financial success for her husband, she resigns from the CIA.

Enter Julia and Ben Maclean, two expats who become increasingly nosy, inappropriate and uncomfortable to be around in her new surroundings. Who are they? What do they want? Are they dangerous?

These questions and more are answered as Kate uses her special skills to unveil their identity in an effort to protect herself and family from clandestine characters.

The Expats is a quick 326-page easy read that is an entertaining and enjoyable novel by and up-and-coming breath of fresh air in espionage genre.

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on April 8, 2012
The plot had the potential to be very interesting, but the writing is poorly organized and incredibly confusing. He jumps from time and place abruptly, leaving the reader guessing which scene is being played. All he needed was to put a city name and date stamp at the transition points to give the reader a clue that the setting has changed. Also, an abundant misuse of the comma makes the writing clumsy.

Why so many great reviews? His wife is a senior exec at Random House and former Amazon exec. Great marketing makes up for a mediocre product.
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on May 3, 2012
I listened to this on CD in my car and found myself being lulled into sleep, a dangerous place when you're driving. Although Mozhan Marno's professional voice tries her best to read the novel as inhabiting the characters, the novel never comes alive. I'm with everyone of the one and two-star reviews: the characters aren't believable, the story takes too long to develop, and I cannot believe that Kate was ever CIA or killed anyone. I actually was shouting at the CD. "NO way!" She relentlessly folds clothes and meanders around. The mysterious couple they befriend? Come on! If Kate were CIA, she would know they're not who they say they are, even before she does research on them.
Sorry to those who say Pavone is a good writer. Most of this tells episodes in flashback, then the action scenes are dull, the dialogue "on-the-nose."
I noticed that one of the reviews states that Pavone is married to an editor at a publishing house?
And please don't compare him to Le Carré.
Another good marketing job, selling exotic locales.
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on April 18, 2012
To put this in perspective, I don't like Grisham, I do like Turow and I love Durrenmatt. The characterization in this book did not work for me, the plot line became unintentionally funny, especially at the end where we kept getting "surprise twists". There was a lot of howlers, the spy gets recruited just like a Le Carre agent back in the thirties at Oxford only it's not back in the thirties at Oxford. It was a cyber crime and that part had its interest I suppose, but not much for me anyway. Heard it's being made into a movie, strong female lead, strong female villain. It might do well, but it's not much and you leave it with nothing.The Expats: A Novel
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VINE VOICEon March 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was intrigued by the book description and the high praise from Patricia Cornwell (one of my favorite authors) however this book falls short of its mark. While the writing seemed to improve in later chapters I was still unimpressed. There didn't seem to be a good flow to the story and it jumped around from present to past without any rhyme or reason. However, there were enough plot twists to hold my interest through the whole book. I would suggest checking this book out of the library or borrowing it from a friend. It was a decent read but not worth spending money on.
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on March 29, 2012
I didn't like this book at all and I wonder why it has gotten such great reviews. It's annoying to say the least. Their are 3-4 scenarios taking place at the same time and the author consistently jumps from one scenario to the next leaving the reader confused. Often times I had to re-read prior pages just to make sure I comprehended what was going on. Kate and Dexter; Julia and Bill; Hayden; Torres; the CIA... Who cares? All the characters are never entirely developed, which is perhaps what the author intended, but as a reader it left you wondering who on earth these people were? Personally, I just didn't like his writing style and I was extremely frustrated by this book. The ending was a big disappointment too.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
...but this book had so many flashbacks I felt like I should be taking notes to keep things straight. There are Sci-fi books about time travel that don't jump around this much!!! If done right, flashbacks can add depth to characters and reveal important plot insight but Pavone's overuse of them was clumsy, contrived and confusing.

I usually enjoy books with a kick-ass female lead. This book started off with promise. Our heroine is an ex-CIA agent, who has managed to hide her profession from her husband for their entire marriage. Now retired, her boredom is interrupted by the revelation that she's not the only liar in the marriage. Sounds like a great premise but the characters are flat and erratic; helpless, shallow and naive and in a heartbeat transformed to calculating, devious and ruthless. Maybe it will work better in a film version but I found it tough to swallow, tough to follow and can't recommend it.
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on March 29, 2012
I was eager to read a good mystery novel and decided that this would be it based on the reviews. Unfortunately, poor plotting, dreadfully uneven writing and a dull cast of characters make the Expats a disappointing read.

There are bits of writing that sparkle with cleverness and originalality. But only to be followed (over and over again) by seemingly unending paragraphs describing the anxiety our protagonist, Kate, feels about her deceptions.

Clues that are dropped early on allowed even me (an inexpericed mystery reader) to glean the big picture about halfway through the book. Overall, I can't recommend.
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