I picked up The Expats from the library shelves thinking that I would encounter a story about living abroad. I barely noticed that it was an espionage thriller, but I’m sure that I decided at the time that it would be interesting anyway. After all, the jacket had glowing praise for the book.
The basic premise of the book is that Kate, a CIA agent who has been keeping her job secret from even her husband for fifteen years, quits the assassination business when her husband gets a new job in “international banking” that requires the family to relocate to Luxembourg. As Kate struggles to rebuild her life in Europe as a stay-at-home mom to their two small sons, she can’t escape her propensity to look at her new world through the eyes of a spy. Author Chris Pavone creates an intricately woven plot in which no one is who he or she appears to be, including Kate’s husband Dexter.
I’m not going to spend much time here critiquing the plot of the book. As many of the reviewers on Amazon said, although the story has great promise and is just itching to be made into a movie, there are bits that just don’t ring true. That being said, it’s a good first novel and is worth a beach or weekend read.
This is the second time in recent months that I’ve been uncomfortable with the voice and behaviors of a female character who was created by a man. I don’t think I notice this as much in books written by female writers, and it seems as though I’d see lots of negative reviews by men if the male character’s voice was off-kilter. Or perhaps it’s just the types of books that I read; maybe there are more problems with this than I know. Any opinions?