Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Informationist: A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel by Taylor Stevens

About book:

Vanessa "Michael" Munroe deals in information.  After escaping a traumatic childhood in lawless central Africa, she is now sought after by corporations, heads of state, and private clients who can afford her unique brand of expertise.

When a Texas oil billionaire hires her to find his daughter who has vanished in Africa, Munroe finds herself back in the darklands she once knew so well, fighting mysterious forces determined to keep the fate of the missing girl a secret.  If she has any hope of getting out of the jungle alive, Munroe must finally face up to the demons of the past she's tried for so long to forget.

My Thoughts:

I'm not one to usually read thrillers, but I'm sure glad I decided to read this one.   The Informationist is one of those exciting and thrilling reads that you just can't put down.  Especially with Vanessa "Michael" Monroe leading the way, a tough and intelligent woman who gets the job done.  She speaks over twenty languages, is good with guns and knows how to get the information she needs by any means necessary.  As you read the book, you find out about Munroe's past and learn how she became the "lone wolf" woman she is today.  With only a few personal connections, Munroe is truly an independent woman. 

Filled with action and suspense, this book will have you on the edge of your seat.  The book begins with Munroe completing one of her missions in Turkey and finding out about a new job.  A job that will take her back to Africa, a country that she knows too well for reasons better left unsaid.  A Texas billionaire's daughter has gone missing  and only Munroe can get her back home safely.  Munroe agrees to the task for the cool sum of 5,000,000 dollars - the only condition that the billionaire makes of Munroe is to allow a mercenary he's hired be her bodyguard on this mission.  Once in Africa, the action begins in full force.  I won't go into detail, except to say that Munroe kicks ass.  There is a kidnapping, double crossing and so much more.  In the end, Munroe saves the girl, but at what cost to her - she is left with a loss that will leave her seeking revenge. 

Written with vivid descriptions and in great detail, this is a book that easily transports you to Cameroon and Germany and every place that Munroe travels to.   Soon you are so caught up in the story and action, that you can't help but cheer for Munroe  when she succeeds and gasp in outrage when betrayals are revealed.  Plus, the more you read, the more you can see that the comparisons between Munroe and  Lisbeth Salander from The Millennium Trilogy are valid.  They are two very fierce individuals (mentally and physically) who can definitely take care of themselves in undesirable and dangerous circumstances.  However, I definitely prefer Munroe to Lisbeth, simply because, I enjoyed The Informationist much more than The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  I just found the writing to be better and the character development to be stronger and the story itself to be more engaging.  Anyhow, aside from the comparisons, Stevens book is a truly captivating, fast-paced read that will not disappoint.  It is the perfect companion on a trip, or when you are laying out by the pool, or when you want to sit inside on a rainy day with a cup of coffee and simply read a good book.

On a side note, the author, Taylor Stevens had quite an upbringing:  Born into the Children of God cult, Stevens lived all over the world, spending time in Germany, Mexico, France, Japan, and many other countries all before the age of fourteen, and then later, Africa. As a child, Taylor was separated from her parents and siblings for months at a time, and in lieu of schooling was made to care for dozens of other children, clean and cook for commune members, and beg for money on the street. Forced to end her education at age twelve, she used her imagination as a coping mechanism, creating stories for other commune children. Once caught writing stories, however, she was put into solitary confinement and held without food. Her stories were destroyed forever.
In Africa, Taylor plotted her escape from the cult. Nearly penniless, without formal education, and with no social structure on “the outside,” a pregnant Taylor, her husband, and their young child fled for the United States. Wow!  Talk about a strong woman.  I guess we can see where Munroe gets some of her characteristics from.

And now, I just want to urge all of those suspense thriller fanatics to go out and get a copy of Taylor Steven's fantastic debut novel, The Informationist.  You will not be disappointed!!

Thanks to Jonathan Lazzara from Random House for providing me with a copy of this book!


Rayna said...

I don't usually gravitate toward thrillers myself, but this one sounds great. Writing the title down so I don't completely forget...


Nadia said...

Rayna, this one is great - you will love it! Cheers!