Book Review: The Informationist

Title: The Informationist
Debut Author: Taylor Stevens
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Crown Publishers, March 2011


While I normally include a short excerpt, because this book doesn't officially release until March 8, 2011, I'm going to hold off on posting this until I run my interview with the author after the book's debut.

The Story

Main character, Vanessa "Michael" Munroe is in an unusual line of work. She deals in information. Impossible-to-get information. And yet, get it she does—for her rich and powerful clients—using her unique set of skills in some incredibly creative ways.

Through the story we learn that Munroe was born to missionary parents and grew up in Central Africa. She ran away at age fourteen to take up with gunrunner Francisco Beyard and his team of mercenaries. In dealing with these dangerous men, Munroe learns lessons in survival that no teen should ever have to learn. But when she finally escapes, she is able to parlay her hard-earned abilities into a lucrative career.

In this captivating tale, nearly a decade has passed since she left Africa, and Munroe is hired by a Texas oil billionaire to find his missing daughter. In taking the case, Munroe is forced to head back to the country of her childhood. As she is pulled deeper into the mystery of the missing girl, Munroe finds herself betrayed, abandoned and left for dead. She must rely on her skills to escape the jungle and finally put to rest the demons of the past that torment her mind.

My Thoughts

If you're looking for exhilarating action, intricate plot twists, compelling characters and a strong female protagonist (with a dash of a love story thrown in), The Informationist, by debut author Taylor Stevens has it all. I don't normally read the Thriller genre, but I've been expanding my reading repertoire, and was honored to receive a galley copy of this book to read.

I liked the strength of Stevens's main character. Vanessa "Michael" Munroe is confident, she is sexy, she is intelligent, and she is extremely dangerous. She is a chameleon and a hunter and has been likened to across between Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander and Jason Bourne. (Stevens admits she was inspired to write by the Jason Bourne trilogy.) Yet beyond Munroe's tight control, we are given tantalizing glimpses of an emotional depth and vulnerability there as well.

Aside from the riveting intensity of the story itself, the author effectively intertwines her intimate knowledge of Central Africa's violent political scene and rugged terrain, which really drew me in. I could literally feel the gritty sand, sweltering heat and buzzing insects, see the sparkling ocean and thick jungle foliage as I moved with Munroe from one dramatic situation to the next.

I found this book to be a real pager-turner from the get-go, effectively holding my attention in the grip of the world Stevens created. It was really a great read!

The Informationist is due out in March; you can pre-order a copy HERE.

About The Author

The author's personal background is as intriguing as the book she's written. Taylor Stevens was born into a communal apocalyptic cult. Raised in communes across the globe, her innocence and education came to an abrupt halt at the age of 12. Without access to books or television, Stevens secretly entertained commune children by making up fantastic stories until these "sins" were discovered by cult leaders. Her handwritten books were destroyed, and she was ordered on threat of "a whole lot of pain" to never write again. At the age of 29, Stevens broke free and now lives in Texas, juggling full-time writing with full-time motherhood.

Look for an interview with Taylor Stevens in an upcoming post!

PLEASE NOTE: Because I know there are some teens who visit the ol' blog, I've decided to create a "Holly's Arbitrary Content Rating." And I'm rating The Informationist: SBA* (*As in SHOULD BE AWARE this book does contain violence, strong language and sexual content.)

ADDITIONAL NOTE: I was given a galley copy of this book to read, but aside from that received no compensation for my review besides the gratification that I'm helping a really great author promote a really great book.


FreshGreenKim said...

Great review and many thanks Holly! I am so glad you enjoyed her story as much as I did :)

Heidi Willis said...

Wow! I think that bio would be enough to make me want to read it! Talk about being born and compelled to write!

I love a good thriller. I may have to add this one into my "off school" time!

Nancy said...

The author's story does sound as exciting as the book she wrote. Great review.
Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you enjoyed it.

Susan R. Mills said...

Well, any page turner is one I'd like to read. I'll add it to my list.

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by guys! :o)