- Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
It’s hardly a secret that with the publication of Stieg Larsson’s “Dragon Tattoo” novels and subsequent Swedish movies — and now the David Fincher directed “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” movie — writers the world over have been scrambling to come up with a protagonist with the popularity of Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander.
Earlier this year with the publication of both the hardback edition and six months later with the trade paperback edition of “The Informationist” Texas-based novelist Taylor Stevens created Vanessa Michael Munroe, an androgynous action hero who relies on her computer skills and information gathering abilities, as well as her skills as a fighter. Normally Munroe deals in information, expensive information, and works as an independent contractor for corporations, heads of state and anyone who can afford her expensive rates.
In the second entry in the series, “The Innocent” (Crown Publishers, 352 pages, $24.00) Vanessa temporarily abandons her policy of working for people who can afford her and organizes the rescue of 13-year-old Hannah, the daughter of Charity, the lover of her very good friend Logan, who can’t afford her services. When Munroe learns that Hannah is in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she realizes that rescuing Hannah will be the challenge of her career.
The cult called The Chosen led by a mysterious man called The Prophet is well connected with the mob in the Argentinian capital, which has a large Italian population. There’s even a district called Palermo, named after the Sicilian capital. Argentina, like the U.S., is a European oriented nation of immigrants — a far cry from the African settings of “The Informationist.” Munroe relies on her friend Miles Bradford of Capstone Consulting, who promises to be a continuing character in Stevens’ series.
The bare facts of Hannah’s kidnapping from her parents by The Chosen are simple: She was simply walked out of her school and taken over the Mexican border. Logan and a group of former cult members have hired Munroe and want to go along on the attempt to free Hannah, an idea that Munroe instantly dislikes. She’s persuaded on the condition that they all must obey her as the leader. As the story develops, Munroe accepts the reality that Logan was right, that those who’ve searched the longest for Hannah know where to find her.
Still, Logan’s friends are loose cannon, in Munroe’s opinion, and although they may end up making the rescue mission a true “Mission Impossible” (The iconic theme for the TV series and subsequent movies was composed by Buenos Aires native Lalo Schifrin) in the end she finds uses for them. Munroe is the sharpest knife in the informationist drawer! Both books are gripping thrillers and fans of Vanessa “Michael” Munroe will be happy to learn that Taylor Stevens is currently writing the third book in what promises to be a long-running series.
About the Author
Taylor Stevens was born into the Children of God cult, raised in communes across the globe, and denied an education beyond the sixth grade, 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. Check out the HNN site for my review of “The Informationist”. Find out more about Stevens on her website: www.taylorstevensbooks.com.