Monday, September 19, 2016

Mystery Readers - The Expats by Chris Pavone

The Mystery Readers group I belong to decided we’d all read the same book this month, and the choice was The Expats, a spy novel. I confess I enjoyed it very much, though I had to pay close attention to detail.

The primary character in the story is woman named Kate, who is married and has two sons. The setting, in the beginning, is Paris, current day and time. A woman calls out her name. Kate then described the woman and the surroundings, and at end the chapter reveals that this woman is a threat to her because her family has been living with false identities.

Then the story flashes back in time two years when the family was living in the U.S. and her husband says he has a new job that will require a move to Luxemburg. At that point the reader learns that Kate has kept information about her past from her husband, the fact that she has been working for the CIA.

The next section details her resignation from “the agency,” the family’s move to Europe, the people they meet, and the fact that her husband is evasive when she asks about the nature of his new job and his frequent trips to other cities.

Because of Kate’s background, and his frequent absences, she becomes bored with the life of a housewife. She begins to be suspicious of their new friends, their seemingly ordinary activities, and even her husband. Tension increases when she starts to dig for clues about what was really going on and culminates in a reveal that is bizarre and unexpected.

It took a very gifted writer to manage a twisted tale that shifts back and forth through time without leaving the reader confused. It’s a book I can recommend.

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