Friday, April 6, 2012

The Expats - Who Wouldn't Want to be One?

Well this was just too much fun! A wild, crazy ride of a novel that at once seemed over the top far fetched and then, on the other hand, having seen all the episodes of MI-5, was absolutely believable, if only for its audacity! Pavone was himself an ex-pat living in Luxembourg where he apparently had a little bit of time on his hands and voila! He was living my dream. Leisurely mornings in bustling cafes, imagination on high alert, espresso and legal pad at hand, and a kick-ass book is born.

Strong marriages supposedly harbor few secrets but Dexter's and Kate's relationship is fraught with them. The irony here is that neither one knows what the other does or doesn't know - that she's former CIA, that he's a cyber hacker. Dexter is offered a too good to refuse position setting up cyber-security for an unnamed organization involved in Luxembourg banking. Kate has just foiled a formidable South American enemy who had threatened her family and she's ripe for a major change, one that just might involve something as simple as being a stay-at-home mom.

Well, you may take the girl out of the CIA but there's no way you can take the CIA out of the girl. Pavone has created a spunky, devious, brave new heroine in Kate Moore and I don't believe for a second that we've seen the last of her. Settled in Europe, surrounded by expats, the shoe is on the other foot, Kate home playing Lego's while Dexter works 24/7  and she doesn't like it one bit. After all, there's only so much schmoozing, coffeeing and gossiping a working girl can do before her head explodes.

New friends Bill and Julia set off Kate's alarm bells, turning up in the strangest places and times. Dexter's always affable personality gives way to a secretive, morose testiness that ignites Kate's inherently suspicious nature and pretty soon readers won't know who's on first! The financial machinations are frankly too complicated to even remotely try to explain, though fascinating.

I didn't really care who were the good guys and who the bad. My sensory pleasure points were burning with Pavone's descriptions of the expat life in Europe; the weekend jaunts to Paris, skiing vacations in Zurich,  the gloriously beautiful drive from Luxembourg to Holland, not to mention the low cost of living and the free health insurance! Oh how I'd revel in a year of discovery in France or Italy,perhaps Belgium. If travel is in your bones and espionage thrills you, run out and grab this book. I'm handing mine in tomorrow. Hope you're on the list.


TooManyBooks said...

I am on the list and can't wait to get it!

Sallyb said...

It'll make you want to travel even more than you do now!!

TooManyBooks said...

Is that possible??