I hate when life interferes with my reading, but I was finally able to read Chris Pavone’s The Expats (Crown, Mar.). In my early days as a mystery junkie, I read a lot of spy novels—Ludlum, le Carré, etc.—so I feel qualified to say I loved this debut. The intricate plotting and use of alternating time lines propelled me through the clever story line, while the immersion into the covert world had the feel of an insider’s view. When the fascinating Kate Moore—wife, mother, and spy—moves to Luxembourg with her husband, she begins to put her past behind her. But the couple’s new life turns into much more than either of them could have anticipated, forcing them to face the complexities of truth in their marriage. Their dreamed-of new existence slowly unravels, taking turns that neither of them—or the reader—could have anticipated. For me, the story’s compelling aspect was Kate, as she was being drawn back into her past life and doing whatever was necessary to protect her family. In a word, exceptional.