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.