I don’t often read spy thrillers, but when I do they will be by Chris Pavone. It’s like he gets me and knows what will hook me into an action packed read. Earlier this year I read and reviewed The Accident by Pavone and my love of it propelled me to read his first novel, The Expats.
As you may guess by the title, The Expats is about an expat family living in Luxembourg. That was the hook for me, as I am an expat Canadian living in Scotland. Pavone captured my life to a ‘T’. Um well, he would have captured it to a ‘T’ if I were an ex-CIA operative tied up in some international espionage. But the expat part he had down pat.
Pavone wrote The Expats while living in Luxembourg, so he understands first hand the social dynamics the run through an expat community. Friendships are quickly forged because you have no one else you can rely upon. Those same friendships are just as quickly dissolved, for most do not stay in the same place for long.
In The Expats, Pavone also communicates what it is like to go from being a full time worker to a stay at home parent. While completely different from any other job, it is full time – especially in a foreign country. All the sudden things like laundry become a full time obsession living in a world without dryers. I speak from experience here.
Who would like this book? Like The Accident, The Expats will draw in an audience beyond those who generally tread towards espionage stories. In The Accident Pavone looked at the publishing industry as a microcosm, while weaving in scandal and intrigue. Here too he ups the ante by taking a normal family and slowly revealing complex secrets. Without giving much away, I can say that The Expats will also appeal to those with an interest in FBI/ CIA stories.
Okay. Two for two. I will have to give him a try sometime. For some reason, this one appeals to me even more than The Accident. Which did you like better?
I think I might have liked The Expats better, but only very slightly. Both were great reads if you are in the mood for adventure. If i remember correctly, The Accident may have slid more into the region of the implausible. (kind of like Dan Brown?)
I was surprised by how much I liked The Accident (it’s definitely outside my wheelhouse), but I thought it might have been the connection to publishing. I’ve heard tons of good things about this one, though, so I may have to give it a go.
I really do recommend it. Where The Accident got a little too action-y, The Expats is much more realistic, if that’s the word.
I’d got a little ‘spied out’ for a while as I probably over fed myself Le Carre et al! But I’ve started to get back into them recently so will take your advice and try The Expats first!
I feel like Pavone does spy thriller lite. And i mean that in the best way possible.
I am pretty sure that I read (and then loved) The Accident because you raved about it here. So I’m very encouraged that The Expats elicits a similar response from you. It’s been on my list since I read The Accident and I can’t wait to get to it!
I think i liked it even better than The Accident.
I feel like I have seen the cover of this book a ton but I think this might be the first review of it that I have seen. Glad you enjoyed it!
I loved this one too. Chris Pavone is working on a new book too–so excited for it!
Awesome. Thanks for the heads up!
I really wanted to like Expats but ultimately did not. Along the way and towards the end it came off the rails for me. But perhaps his follow up book was better? Here is my review of it at http://www.thecuecard.com/?s=expats
I wish you had liked it as well. I’m not sure if you will like his other book any better – unless you really buy into the fact that it’s set in the publishing industry.