As a student expat, I thought I’d read a book that somewhat mirror my experience. It was Christmas vacation so I figured I should take a break from Shakespeare and company and read a best-selling thriller. The Expats tells the story of an ex-CIA agent, Kate, and her dorky computer-brained husband, Dexter who gets a job financial security in Luxembourg. They move to Europe with their two children and begin to develop a life there. A lot of playdates, coffee dates, and menial labor ensues until the plot thickens with the appearance of two possible FBI agents. Kate is forced to investigate these people, who have in the ensuing period have become her and her husbands best friends, in order to find out who they are investigating. Are they there for Kate, her husband, or has Kate just become paranoid in her career as a CIA agent?
I admit, I was entertained. The plot is twisty and surprising, however the tales of the woes of a housewife really get old. Kate cannot stand being out of her investigative career, and is constantly complaining about taking care of her kids. This tendency gets old quickly. Possibly because Chris Pavone is a man creating a female protagonist, he doesn’t quite understand the power of a mother’s love. He writes Kate out like a sociopath, someone who is incapable of emotion or love. It’s hard to root for a character like that. Though the book served its purpose, there are definitely better vacation novels out there.