Thursday, January 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday: My review of Taylor Stevens' 1st novel, The Informationist (2011)

The Informationist

A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel
By Taylor Stevens
Random House 324 pgs
Submitted by Random House
Rating: Read This Book!+ (this is a 4.5 of 5 for readers insisting on a rational rating system)

The Informationist is stunning. It roars like a freight train and sneaks like a cat through 3 continents and some half-dozen countries. There are mercenaries and missionaries, diplomats and gangsters in uniform, Texas oil tycoons and presidents, sacrifice and avarice, revenge and justice.

Meet Vanessa Michael Munroe. We very seldom get to meet a female character in any genre who breaks the rules, all of them. Her past is shady, her future precarious. She reminds me of Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon on estrogen and without the ethical ruminating. She is a brilliant chameleon and physically fearless. She's got skills. Munroe is fierce

Munroe's specialty is information. Governments and corporations need information and hire her to get it and they pay handsomely. Information on elections, coupes, espionage both national and business, trade secrets, you name it. Everyone wants the inside skinny for a leg up on the competition. Mainly this boils down to money. Information = money.

The information Munroe is hired to find is the whereabouts of the daughter of a Texas oil tycoon, Richard Burbank of Titan Oil. His daughter Emily went missing in Africa 4 years ago. Munroe grew up in Africa and understands that returning to the scene of her past could be problematic. Add Miles Bradford to the mix. He is a former (?) mercenary Burbank sends along to keep an eye on Munroe. Add to the mix Francisco Beyard, a gunrunner (among other things) from her African past who loves her and is a little angry that she disappeared 9 years ago. Hint: Munroe had to get "out of Africa." Ha ha. Sorry. I find very little to quibble about in The Informationist. In fact only one thing: Miles Bradford seemed to be superfluous a good deal of the time. However this doesn't weigh down the plot in any way.

The Informationist is Taylor Stevens first book and I am so excited to be able to read more. Her next Vanessa Michael Munroe novel, The Innocent, will hit stores this month. Even better, she is currently working on the third story. I confidently and strongly recommend this one. Ms. Stevens has created something special here and I, for one, am grateful. You will be too.

(FYI Taylor Stevens is a Texas author. Yay!)

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