Morning, all. I'm part of the TLC tour for Chris Pavone's debut, The Expats, this morning!
When Kate's husband, Dexter, is offered a lucrative position in Luxembourg, there's no reason not to accept. Not only does it mean more money and a more comfortable living for the family, but it also means that Kate can leave her job and start fresh. And for Kate that means more than you might think. Kate was recruited to the CIA in college and has led the secretive life of a covert agent for years. Even her husband has no idea what she does for a living. But now that's all behind her. Until Kate and Dexter meet another expat couple living in Luxembourg. Kate is sure that they are not who they claim to be, but is she right? Or is she simply bored living the life of an average housewife? As she digs into the identities of their new friends, Kate becomes convinced that not only are they lying, but that they may be after Kate... or Dexter.
Expats is great fun and I'm not the only one who thinks so. Pavone's debut recently earned him an Edgar Nomination for the Best First Novel category.
The book is broken up into alternating sections, beginning with present day Paris when Kate runs into an old friend. One she's not too happy to see and one that's not revealed immediately to the reader. It's clear, though, that Kate suspects she and her family are in danger. Flash back to two years ago when Dexter is offered the position in Luxembourg and the couple decides to relocate. The third set of pieces concerns Kate's time with the CIA -- beginning, end, and throughout her career. So what you get is a series of alternating chapters with cliffhanger endings: Kate discovering something present day, flashing back to Luxembourg, switching gears to her exploits as an agent. The pacing of the story is quick and borders on dizzying with all of the storylines, but Pavone pulls it off.
It would be easy to chalk Kate's fear up to boredom as she investigates Julia, Bill, and even Dexter, but those present day chapters manage to appear each time confidence in Kate's instincts begins to wane.
The Expats is perfect for readers looking for a cleverly plotted and thrilling sort of light espionage read (and by that I mean one that isn't heavy into the political parts of the espionage game).
For more stops on the tour, visit the official TLC tour page here.
For more on Pavone, Expats, and what comes next, visit the author's website here.