Sunday, March 11, 2012

International Intrigue and Domestic Secrets


After struggling with two demanding jobs, two toddlers and a house that's falling apart, Dexter, Kate's husband, lands a lucrative job in Luxemburg. Kate has dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom. Her job as a field agent for the CIA and even her current desk job seem too fraught with danger for her young family. Feeling that she's making a good decision, she quits her job and the family moves to Europe. Then the problems start. Dexter's job has some mysterious aspects. One of the other expat moms forces a friendship that Kate isn't sure she trusts. Deceptions multiply, Kate's instincts as a spy lead her to investigate her friends and eventually her husband.

The novel is filled with puzzles and intrigue. If you like thrillers you'll enjoy trying to figure out this one. I particularly liked the setting. Pavone made the expat experience with the attendant travel to European cites come to life.

I did, however, have some problems with the book. The story is told predominantly through Kate's thoughts. As she becomes increasingly distrustful of her environment and questions her decision of quitting her job, her thoughts turn into many paragraphs of angst. I found it boring and didn't think the character rang true. This was particularly the case when there were so many hints that something wasn't right. I would have expected an ex-CIA agent to have been more alert and suspicious.

Many of the details were off, as though Pavone was trying too hard to create suspense and misdirect the reader. However, it is an interesting read, particularly if you love spy novels, but be prepared to wade through a lot of internal dialog.

I reviewed this book as part of the Amazon Vine Program: The Expats by Chris Pavone.