Friday, October 5, 2012

The Expats by Chris Pavone (2012)

I was lucky enough to win an advance reader's copy of this book earlier this year and due to circumstances, only got hold of it recently.  But it was a really great read - I started it yesterday evening and just couldn't put it down to go to sleep and then luckily I had a pretty quiet day today, because I had to finish it.  Yes, it's that kind of book.

It's a fast paced thriller, but the neat thing about it is that it is set in sleepy little Luxembourg, of all places.  And the characters get to visit Paris, Brussels, the Ardennes, Amsterdam, London, Berlin, Geneva..  All places I have been throughout these years I've lived here and so it feels so familiar.  The author certainly used the year and half he himself spent in Luxembourg as an expat very well - the details and descriptions of the different cities but also everyday life, the food, the way things work, the people you see - they all ring very true.

The other familiar theme in the book is a career woman who gives up her job to follow her husband to another country and become a stay-at-home mother...I could certainly relate to many of the scenes that detail her frustration at the mundane details of domestic life, when you are the sole person in charge of making sure the shopping, cooking, and cleaning all get done while your spouse is off on weekly business trips.   

What was not familiar to me was the fact that this particular stay-at-home mom, Kate, has a huge secret that she's been hiding from her husband for ten years.  Her job was not really what she's told him it was.  But as she soon discovers while navigating her new life in Luxembourg, her husband is also hiding a huge secret about his professional life from her.  And their new best friends, another American couple, aren't exactly who they seem either.  Unable to resign herself to the boredom of expat life, Kate is compelled to find out what is going on.  And that's where things start to get exciting. 

For the attentive reader, there are lots of little clues dropped along the way, but still the ending has some surprising twists and things I hadn't seen coming.  This was an entertaining read, and I could definitely see it being made into a movie - perhaps that would help change Luxembourg's reputation as a boring banking town to a sexy location for intrigue? 


Bonnie Jacobs said...

If you couldn't put it down, it must be an excellent book. I've posted your recommendation on Book Around the World:

Amy said...

Thanks Bonnie!