Book Review – THE INFORMATIONIST by Taylor Stevens

The Informationist by Taylor StevensThe Informationist Synopsis

Vanessa “Michael” Munroe deals in information—expensive information—working for corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. Born to missionary parents in lawless central Africa, Munroe took up with an infamous gunrunner and his mercenary crew when she was just fourteen. As his protege, she earned the respect of the jungle’s most dangerous men, cultivating her own reputation for years until something sent her running. After almost a decade building a new life and lucrative career from her home base in Dallas, she’s never looked back. 

Until now. 

A Texas oil billionaire has hired her to find his daughter who vanished in Africa four years ago. It’s not her usual line of work, but she can’t resist the challenge. Pulled deep into the mystery of the missing girl, Munroe finds herself back in the lands of her childhood, betrayed, cut off from civilization, and left for dead. If she has any hope of escaping the jungle and the demons that drive her, she must come face-to-face with the past that she’s tried for so long to forget. (The Nile)

BOOK REVIEW

Corporations need her. Governments pay her. Criminals fear her.

But nobody sees her coming. Vanessa Munroe is… THE INFORMATIONIST

How could I resist that opener? The publisher’s comparisons to Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander character in The Millennium Trilogy (a series I loved) peaked my interest too.

While there are obvious and very likeable similarities between Larsson’s protagonist Lisbeth Salander and Taylor Stevens’ Vanessa “Michael” Munroe, the authors writing styles are quite different.

Munroe has nasty emotional baggage from her traumatic childhood to deal with, and from those experiences she has developed immense self-discipline, independence and acute understanding of human behaviour – character traits I always find intriguing. But what makes Stevens’ protagonist special is that beneath Vanessa Munroe’s anti-social mask there exists a passionate and idealistic spirit.

Munroe picked up the wineglass, swished the liquid in a gentle circle, ran her thumb against the stem. It was so delicate, would be so easy to snap, and she waited for the urge to do so. No reaction. Numb. The internal shutdown was complete. She placed the glass back on the desk, lay on the bed with her hands behind her head, and, as she knew they would, waited for the demons to rise.

Taylor Stevens’ impressive debut novel The Informationist is a whirlwind international adventure-thriller that left me gasping for more.

I was astounded by just how much background information on the story locations and characters and raw action scenes Taylor Stevens managed to pack into The Informationist at just over 300 pages (paperback edition). The story moves along much quicker than Stieg Larsson’s novels and the Stevens’ plot twists are shocking and very clever.

The only weakness for me with this book was the writing in a couple of places. A few descriptive passages were verbose and on a couple of occasions there was a slight disconnect in the prose – nothing a stronger edit wouldn’t have cured. Fortunately these slight glitches were not enough to disrupt the compelling tension that made The Informationist a real page-turner.

Although The Informationist is concluded well and stands well as a novel in isolation, in Vanessa “Michael” Munroe, author Taylor Stevens has brought into the world a gritty and irresistible heroine who has enormous scope for future adventures.  Having read the teaser first chapter for the second novel in the series titled The Innocent I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy.

BOOK RATING: The Story 5 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5

BOOK DETAILS:  The Informationist (Amazon); The Informationist (Audible); The Informationist (TheNile – Australia); The Informationist (Kobobooks – epub)

Genre: Action-Adventure, Thriller, Mystery, Drama

Author Information: Born into the Children of God, raised in communes across the globe, and denied an education beyond the sixth grade, Taylor Stevens broke free of the cult in order to follow hope and a vague idea of what possibilities lay beyond. She now lives in Texas, and is writing her third Vanessa Michael Munroe novel. Her dedication in The Informationist reads: To my fellow childhood survivors—you know who you are.

- Learn more about Taylor Stevens’ unusual childhood

- Check out Taylor Steven’s official website

-Nobody’s Child’, VOGUE Magazine Article

Other reviews of The Informationist :  Open Letters MonthlyRhapsody in Books; Huffington Post; A Library of My Own; Pop Culture Nerd

* I received this paperback copy from Crown Publishing, Random House for review purposes. My receiving this title at no cost did not impact my ability to express my honest opinions about it.

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