Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: The Expats


I loved the premise of THE EXPATS.  Woman turns away from the spy world to enjoy the normal life she has created with her husband and children, only to find out that the spy world has followed her.  

The books I like, but don't love are the hardest to review.  First off, let me say that this was an enjoyable book and one that makes for good discussion.  The pages turned quickly, and there was a good amount of suspense, the reader never knowing who to trust, or what was lurking behind the next corner. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to breaking a book apart - the characters, the predictability, the inconsistencies, I could very easily be all over this one.  I don't want to pull it apart, though, because I did like it.  I just didn't love it.

Probably the toughest thing for me, which many people won't care about at all, is the flawed heroine.  I wanted her to be fierce.  I wanted her to kick some ass.  I wanted her to be smarter and quicker and stronger than everyone around her, putting to task her own skills as a spy.  Alas, this is not the character Chris Pavone wrote.  Kate didn't want to see the truth.  She wanted so badly to keep her past hidden and safe that she didn't act on those doubts tugging at her.  I get that, but her one big spy scene, she made a rookie mistake!  You can make her flawed, Mr. Pavone, but don't make her incompetent.  And was there an error of convenience to let her get away with it or was she actually caught? 

The range of responses THE EXPATS has been receiving makes this a good Book Club candidate.  I guarantee you that no two readers will have the same opinion of Kate, her family, her friends, or the story itself.  Lukewarm for me, sure, but go find out for yourself...then, grab a glass of wine and come talk to me. 

It might not have been one of my favorites, but there are enough readers gushing over THE EXPATS, you should go give it a try. 

Other Reviews:
Mysteries Etc:  "Outstanding!"
Popcorn Reads: "The Expats grabbed me immediately and I didn't want to stop until I reached the end of this thrill ride!"

Book Extras:
Chris Pavone: website
Author talks about The Expats

About the Book:
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307956350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307956354

  • About the Author:
    Chris Pavone grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from Cornell. For nearly two decades he was a book editor and ghostwriter; he is also the author of The Wine Log. Chris and his family have lived in Luxembourg, but recently returned to New York City. The Expats is his first novel.

    *Disclosure:  A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher


    Marce said...

    I keep considering this one, should give it a try. I also haven't heard of the other blogs you mentioned, so thank you, always looking for other blogs that enjoy Mysteries.

    bermudaonion said...

    I just won this book and will give it a try one day. My expectations won't be so high now.

    Zibilee said...

    Oh, there are so many books that are good but not great, and it's really tough to write a review that reflects that without it seeming like you bashed the book. I think you did a great job with it and gave the book and objective and fair review. It wasn't one that was on my radar, but it's good to have been able to read your thoughts on it.

    Stephanie @ Read In a Single Sitting said...

    I know what you mean about books sometimes just not clicking. I just read The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace, which I should have loved, but just didn't warm to. It's going to be tough teasing out exactly *why*, though.

    Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

    I really want to read this... no idea why... spy stuff is not really my thing.

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