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The Informationist: A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel (Vanessa Michael Munroe Series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Taylor Stevens
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (415 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.00
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $6.01 (43%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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14th Deadly Sin
Third in the Women's Murder Club series: As violence sweeps through San Francisco, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends must risk their lives in the name of justice—before it's too late. Read more about authors James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Book Description

Governments pay her.
Criminals fear her.
Nobody sees her coming.

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.

Now with an excerpt from the latest Vanessa Michael Munroe novel, The Catch

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Stevens's blazingly brilliant debut introduces a great new action heroine, Vanessa Michael Munroe, who doesn't have to kick over a hornet's nest to get attention, though her feral, take-no-prisoners attitude reflects the fire of Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander. Nine years have passed since Munroe, the daughter of American missionaries, escaped Cameroon at age 15 after a violent incident. She's forged a new life in Texas as an "informationist," a person who specializes in gathering information about developing countries for corporations. Munroe's best friend, marketing consultant Kate Breeden, refers her to Miles Bradford, a high-stakes security pro, who believes she's the perfect choice to help Houston oilman Richard Burbank find his adopted daughter, Emily, who vanished four years earlier at age 18 while vacationing in west central Africa. Munroe returns to Africa, where she reconnects with her ex-boyfriend, Francisco Beyard, a sexy drug- and gun-running businessman, who assists in the dangerous search for Emily. Thriller fans will eagerly await the sequel to this high-octane page-turner. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This intriguing novel�s first chapters summon memories of the sort of cases Robert Parker�s Spenser had a habit of taking. A gazillionaire�s daughter vanished in Africa years ago. The gazillionaire has paid fortunes to PIs with no returns, hence his interest in �information specialist� Vanessa Munroe, a gumshoe for the twenty-first century. She can�t resist the mystery or the paycheck, and the first third here is a riveting procedural about how an informationist does business. Then she�s kidnapped and held captive on a boat in Equatorial Guinea, and suddenly we�re in an adventure tale. Vanessa spends another chunk of the narrative wondering whether she�ll survive and will this make sense. So do we, and yes to both questions. The maneuvers at the end are dazzling, worthy of patience with the puzzling middle, and a tad reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes� matter of the Copper Beeches. Monroe is a model of an emerging action heroine: like Stieg Larsson�s Lisbeth Salander, not a guy in a girl suit but not one to whimper in the corner, either. --Don Crinklaw

Product Details

  • File Size: 1619 KB
  • Print Length: 327 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (March 8, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004IK8PWS
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,396 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
138 of 150 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My new favorite action hero February 16, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Vanessa Michael Munroe is a dangerous loner who bears emotional and physical scars, reminiscent of Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander. Like Salander, Munroe is adept at acquiring information. While Salander relies upon her skills as a computer hacker, Munroe infiltrates cultures, sometimes posing as a man, working in developing countries for private businesses and organizations like the IMF. Despite her desperate need for down time and the fact that it really isn't her line of work, she accepts an assignment to locate a wealthy businessman's daughter who was last seen in Namibia four years earlier. The businessman insists that Munroe work with Miles Bradford, a mercenary whose job is to keep her safe. The search takes Munroe to Central Africa, where she has some history that she would prefer to remain buried. Yet she remains a product of her inescapable past: fierce and determined, but tormented by the preaching voices that keep her awake at night. Munroe travels to some nasty places and encounters even nastier people who would prefer that the circumstances of the young woman's disappearance remain a mystery. She also meets up with the life she left behind, including a close friend: a gunrunner from whom she walked away nine years earlier.

If the gunrunner brings to mind Humphrey Bogart, Munroe would have to be a warped composite of Jessica Alba, Angelina Jolie, Uma Thurman, and all three Charlie's Angels. She's a great character: an intuitive, intelligent action hero who speaks multiple languages, practices martial arts, and is handy with a knife; a haunted nomad with a horrific past whose understandable ferocity is barely restrained (except when it's not).
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149 of 164 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars lost me about 2/3 of the way in March 19, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book at first, and the problems I had might not bother other readers at all. I found the setting and characters compelling for the first half. But it slows down 2/3 of the way through, and it was at that point when the writing finally got to me. To be honest, I don't often judge thrillers based on the writing itself. I'm not looking for flowery prose or beautiful descriptions. I just want to know what's happening and who the characters are. But there were parts of the book where the writing was just wrong. Not clunky, or awkward, but just nonsensical. Still, even that is usually okay in a thriller. You can get a sense of what they mean, and move on. What really killed the book for me were the attempts to have every chapter end on a "deep" note. I found I was rolling my eyes every other chapter. It just didn't match the rest of the book. And when the hard-ass heroine ended a chapter talking about sex as opening her soul, well, it was one eye-roll too many.

But like I said, the action is good, and the African setting was interesting. If you enjoyed the setting here, you should check out the graphic novel series "Unknown Soldier" by Joshua Dysart. The Unknown Soldier series is set during the Lord's Resistance Army insurgency of Uganda in 2002 and is amazing.
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120 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What a wonderful and amazing accomplishment. February 19, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Its not often that I can't wait to find the time to read. I looked forward to see where the story went, what new things I'd learn about African culture, what new disturbing episode the main protagonist would get involved in, and what new doublecross would present itself to be unwound.

Given that this is the authors debut novel, I was simply blown away. Its not hard to tell that she has a unique mind, and has lived through many remarkable experiences. The depth of her character exploration, the complexity of the protagonist's perspectives, and the twists and turns that deep African culture and social complexities lead to are just incredible.

The basic story is somewhat standard thriller fare. But the way its told, the way the story is constructed, and the remarkable depth of the characters is simply amazing. Layer that with how the author weaves the story, with her deep knowledge of some of Africa's more seedy cultures and the deeply lonely yet introspective characters that populate her story, and its just some of the finest fiction I have ever read.

This book is a remarkable accomplishment, by any and all measures. That is her first novel makes it even more amazing. The characters, settings, and twists are like nothing you've read, even if you're a prolific reader.

I look forward to her next novel, as I'm sure others who've read this book are. Fantastic, just fantastic
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First off, The Informationist is not as good as you might think based upon all of the breathlessly positive reviews. The main problem is the disconnect between the book's extremely compelling premise and the ragged quality of the writing itself. This was ultimately very frustrating -- like going to a World Series game where the best hitters turn in a sub-par performance.

The heroine of the book -- Vanessa Michael Munroe -- is someone who is known as an "informationist." She's a hired gun of sorts who companies hire to gather intelligence on foreign markets that will aid them in their business decisions. Her skills in this arena have not come easy, but are an outgrowth of survival skills learned growing up in the wilds of Cameroon as the daughter of missionaries and then, while still under 18, as part of a team of African mercenaries.

The book begins with Munroe being hired for a different, but very complementary assignment. A business tycoon's daughter has gone missing in Equatorial Guinea and after four years of searching it is still unclear whether she is alive or dead. Enter Vanessa Michael Munroe.

It's in the execution of the writing where the experience of this book falls off with page upon page of tortuous, cliched lines. For example, "It was one thing to allow a man access to her body, another thing entirely to allow a man access to her soul." And this goes on throughout the entire book.

Also, "Michael" as she's mostly referred to is a particularly grim and not very likable character. She comes across as particularly soulless and shallow at the beginning and really doesn't change all that much through the course of the book.

If you need a diversion on a plane, this could be a good choice. Just don't go in expecting any sort of tour-de-force.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessarily complicated.
Too outlandish. Too violent. Story did not hold together well although characters are strongly drawn. This may be the beginning of a series, but not for me.
Published 4 days ago by SMR
4.0 out of 5 stars Kept me interested!
I would recommend this book to my friends for a great summer read. I will definitely be reading the next in the series!
Published 9 days ago by Kathryn Haugrud
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A real page turner
Published 15 days ago by Elaine
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous! Loved it!!!
This book is fabulous! The main character, Vanessa Michael Munroe, is brilliant, damaged, tough, vulnerable and I found I was regularly reminding myself that she is fiction and I... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Laurie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great storytelling of a magnificent character!
If you are not reading Taylor Stevens, I have to ask, WHY? This series is absolutely the best I've ever read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by S. Kohl
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 1 month ago by donald flynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Really a good book to read just when you need a woman ...
Really a good book to read just when you need a woman winner. Very good writer I am already on the second in the series.
Published 1 month ago by marilyn frasca
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Uninspired and poorly constructed. A main character who never engages the reader. A confusing hodge-pudge of a story that has the reader rereading pages to understand the plot. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ira B. Korman
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Solid read, looking forward to finding the next books this series
Published 2 months ago by Andrew Withers
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read! Kept me turning the pages
Great read! Kept me turning the pages!
Published 3 months ago by Melanie Taylor Moxey
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More About the Author

TAYLOR STEVENS is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Vanessa Michael Munroe series. Published in over twenty languages and optioned for film by James Cameron's production company, Lightstorm Entertainment, the books are international boots-on-the-ground thrillers featuring a mercenary information hunter in a non-testosterone mix of Jason Bourne and Jack Reacher.

Stevens came to writing fiction late. Born into an apocalyptic cult, separated from her family at age twelve and denied an education beyond sixth grade, she lived on three continents and in a dozen countries before she turned fourteen. In place of schooling, the majority of her adolescence was spent begging on city streets at the behest of cult leaders, or as a worker bee child, caring for the many younger commune children, washing laundry and cooking meals for hundreds at a time. In her twenties, Stevens broke free in order to follow hope and a vague idea of what possibilities lay beyond.

In addition to writing novels, Stevens shares extensively about the mechanics of storytelling, writing, overcoming adversity, and the details of her journey into publishing at - she welcomes you to join her.


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