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Publisher's Summary

The international thriller that Patricia Cornwell says is “bristling with suspense” about an American abroad who finds herself in complex web of intrigue.

Can We Ever Escape Our Secrets?

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 doesn’t speak, doing the housewifely things she’s never before done - playdates and coffee mornings, daily cooking and never-ending laundry. Meanwhile, her husband works incessantly, at a job Kate has never understood, for a banking client she’s not allowed to know. He’s becoming distant and evasive; she’s getting lonely and bored.

Then another American couple arrives. Kate soon becomes suspicious that these people are not who they say they are, and she’s 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, and finally unravels the mind-boggling long-play con that threatens her family, her marriage, and her life.

Stylish and sophisticated, fiercely intelligent and expertly crafted, The Expats proves Chris Pavone to be a writer of tremendous talent.

©2012 Chris Pavone (P)2012 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“A stunningly assured first novel.... An intricate, suspenseful plot that is only resolved in the final pages. The juxtaposition of marital deceptions and espionage is brilliantly employed.... A must for espionage fans.” (Booklist)
“Brilliant, insanely clever, and delectably readable, this debut thriller breaks the espionage genre bounds with its American-as-apple-pie heroine... Pavone displays the best characteristics of the form and will earn a faithful and yearning readership.” (Library Journal)
“Fans of John le Carre and Robert Ludlum will welcome [this] meticulously plotted, psychologically complex spy thriller.... The sheer amount of bombshell plot twists are nothing short of extraordinary, but it’s Pavone’s portrayal of Kate and her quest to find meaning in her charade of an existence that makes this book such a powerful read.” (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
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  • Story

Sluggish, with shallow characters

This book was a huge disappointment, especially after reading the rave reviews. I only listened to the whole thing because I got it for a roadtrip; otherwise, I wouldn't have wasted my time.
The book is slow. So slow, that 4 hours in, I still didn't know what the point was.
There's no character development. You don't feel or empathize with any of them.
My main problem, though, was the storyline. The book jumps around from place to place and different times, no transitions. One minute, she's sitting at a table having dinner in Paris. The next, she's sitting in an office in DC talking to her boss, in the future. Back in Paris, Luxemborg, St Tropez, Amsterdam, flipping cities and timelines.
This is terrible combined with the narration; there was no distinguishing of time and place, no audible pauses. It's difficult to tell when she's doing dialogue or Cate's inner monologue.
More on the places - they spend the book living in beautiful, picturesque European cities. There is no description of that; the narrator merely namedrops the names of neighborhoods, restaurants, museums without painting a picture of where these characters are at.
Finally, the ending is terrible. One of those books where the last 30 minutes, the main character sits down and explains everything that happened.
This book is no mystery, it's not a thriller, it's about very boring and shallow white people committing very boring white collar crime.
Don't waste your time.

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Twist-a-Thom

Fun plot, great characters, and many plot twists. I hated to put this book down. My bookclub will have a great time discussing this book.

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  • Evert
  • Burtonsville, MD, United States
  • 08-22-16

Loved it

Great story, well written. Gets you from the first and doesn't let you go. Well crafted thriller that doesn't rely on violence to create intensity. The suspense is all in the gradual unfolding of the mystery. My only quibble is the narration doesn't give the date for when the chapter is taking place. Because the story jumps forward and backwards in time this can be confusing. However, a careful listen will eventually make things clear. Well worth the effort.

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Hard to follow

Was looking forward to reading this after reading a review, however I found this story hard to follow and the characters seemed very impersonal. It seems to be lacking something, I can't quite put my finger on it. Disappointed.

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  • Sharon
  • United States
  • 07-02-16

overrated

Bought this because it was on a summer must read list. Definitely not impressed. I feel like the whole story could have been told and half the time.

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I enjoyed it.

Overall this is a good story. The bouncing back and forth from scene to scene without noticed can be a bit confusing at times. I'm sure that in the novel itself it's obvious based on type choices but audibly can be a bit challenging. Other than that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Never underestimate a smart woman

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Really enjoyed this read. The main character is very well developed which allows the reader to really become engrossed. The story is crazy far fetched, but that is part of the appeal, I think. A great book if you enjoy espionage and are dubious of marriage.

Of note, I totally did not guess the ending. I love a book that catches me off guard. Fantastic first book from Pavone.

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A Remarkably Creative Story

Any additional comments?

This was a great story, and the narration was good, but it was sometimes hard to follow because the author jumped back and forth in time, and because it all took place in a relatively small area in Europe, I wasn't always sure what time period we were in. Aside from that, the author is extremely creative and wove a story that was hard to stop listening to! It could have just been "operator error" because there were times it really took some concentration to follow the storyline.

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I didn't enjoy The Expats

Would you try another book from Chris Pavone and/or Mozhan Marno?

I bought this book because I read a very positive review in Smithsonian and it fits my preferences for "spy" stories. I find it extremely slow with annoying, not clever, juxtaposition of timeframes. The reading is flat and I find it monotonous. I'm 30% in and I don't think I can stand to listen through to the end.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom.

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Great First Novel Fun Listen

The Expats by Chris Pavone Narrated by Mozhan Marno is a great Audiobook available @Audible_com. This is a New York Times Best Seller and Edgar Award Winning book.

Kate Moore is a mother with two young sons and a career in Washington DC as a policy position writer and a husband who works in Information Technology (IT). Kate's husband continued to perfect his craft of a Information Security as his friends and classmates created start ups and made and lost fortunes.

When Kate's husband comes home saying he got the job he had been waiting for-his big payday-there was one catch, Kate and the boys would have to move to Luxenburg.

Kate has one month to quit her job and pack the family up while her husband travels back and forth making arrangements with his new company. Kate is becoming an Expat and a stay at home mom, with no more money worries and Europe to explore.

This all would sound great if Kate wasn't secretly a CIA agent. She quits the Agency to move with her husband who never suspects anything. You can take the girl out of the CIA but you can't take the CIA out of the girl.

Does Kate see trouble and intrigue because of her training or is something rotten in Luxenburg. Suspense fills this entire book from start to finish. The listener will want to keep on listening to follow what happens next. 

No Spoilers here, listen to "The Expats" today!