The Expats by Chris Pavone – ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
For people who like to try to solve the puzzle before the characters, who like to travel, and who like spy-crime intrigue minus guts and gore. It’s a pretty PG spy story.
Can a spy ever escape her past? Kate thinks she can when she moves to Luxembourg on a sudden urge from her husband, hoping she can stop lying to him about who she is and focus on being a happy stay-at-home mom. But when suspicious new “friends” show up in Luxembourg, Kate can’t forget her spy training with her secrets suddenly in danger. As she unravels the deception of the people around her, she discovers that the one person she thought she could trust most may be at the heart of it all.
This is the first spy book I’ve ever read, and I may have found a new genre I like! This might not be a blow-you-away book for people more well read on this genre, but I loved it as an introduction. Since I’ve been to some of the places they visit, I got a little giddy when I could picture so well where they were and merge with my own memories. 😊
We really only get in depth with the main character, Kate, and the others are created through her own impressions. They’re fairly predictable static characters: clever dependable husband, sexy playboy spy, cunning faux-friend spy. Kate is not terribly exciting, but I appreciated the turn of her being excited to have a stay-at-home mom kind of life, and then having the courage to admit that maybe it’s not actually for her. I enjoyed watching her sneak around and work things out and plan out how to get everything to go her way. There’s really no romance here, so don’t be looking for that.
It wasn’t terribly predictable to me, but probably would be to more well-read people in the genre. I also wasn’t thinking so much about how it might end, because I was really sucked into the present moment. That’s good writing! Definitely enjoyed it!