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The Doll: A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel Paperback – March 4, 2014
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There’s not much that can make heavily armed “information specialist” Vanessa “Michael” Munroe do something she doesn’t want to do. But kidnapping and torturing one of her inner circle may be one of them. When a human trafficker known as the Dollmaker needs a high-profile doll (i.e., kidnapped young woman) delivered to a client, he settles an old score by forcing Michael to choose between the girl and her old friend. To save her friend’s life, Michael has two days to get the doll from Croatia to the client in Italy. She must arrive unharmed—no bruises, no drugs. Emotionally and physically scarred by her own past with a man who wanted to own and control her, Michael has taken justice into her own hands more than once and has proven herself capable of anything. Following The Informationist (2011) and The Innocent (2011), Stevens’ third Munroe book is another international action-adventure with a Bourne-like avenging angel at the reins. --Karen Keefe --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“I read The Doll in one frenzied, caffeine-fueled sitting, then re-read it slowly and luxuriantly, just for the sheer pleasure of it. Out of everything I’ve read ever, if I had to pick a fictional character to have dinner with, Michael Munroe would certainly make my Top 5. . . Stevens excels at depicting pulse-pounding danger, and her prose and plotting are spectacular, especially given her cult background. She was denied all but a sixth-grade education, but her writing places her heads above most authors working in the thriller genre. Only Dan Brown and Lee Child come close; not even the lauded Larsson could turn a phrase or twist a plotline like Stevens can. Really, my only complaint is that I’d like her to please write faster.” —Dallas Morning News
“Munroe is a sensational character and Stevens is a sensational writer, and together they put The Doll high on my books-of-the-year list.” —Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Reacher series
“If you are a fan of Jack Reacher, Lisbeth Salander, or Nina Zero, you need to check out Vanessa Michael Munroe!” —BookPage
“If you can stand the heat, Stevens’ third thriller is a sizzler.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“If Lisbeth Salander…had special-ops training and a knack for languages, she'd be Vanessa Michael Munroe… [A] guilty-pleasure thrill ride.” —Winnipeg Free Press
“This New York Times Bestselling author is back...with a truly spellbinding story. . . Readers have finally found a ‘Bond girl’ that is actually Bond, himself. Vanessa is a heroine that will face the worst facets of humanity and will fight to the finish to save a soul from following in her blood-soaked footsteps.” —Suspense Magazine
“Now for some fun. If you are a thriller buff, and especially if you loved Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo you won’t want to miss Taylor Stevens newest novel The Doll….Her new novel takes readers on a cat-and-mouse trip through Central Europe as Vanessa tries to outrun a villain. And, let’s say, a villain you will never forget. Scary as hell!” —Hudson Valley News
“What a great gripping novel with a provocative heroine. Taylor Stevens has done it again. This is her third novel and it, too, should be an award winner.” —I Love A Mystery
“If you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller, The Doll and the two previous Vanessa Michale Munroe novels are pretty hard to beat.” —Huntington News
“Munroe, skilled at strategy, tactics, and languages, is a powerful and dangerous figure whose violent aspect is reminiscent of James Bond.” —Criminal Elements
“Taylor Stevens treads where the faint-hearted dare not go: the land of violence, greed and opportunism, a vast underbelly of worldwide criminal enterprise—in this case human trafficking… From one frantic scene to another, Stevens creates unbearable tension. …Stevens uses her protagonist's ability to morph from female to male, her dexterity and her wits, to establish Michael as a viable heroine. She moves confidently through a man's world with impunity, but only her humanity stands between Michael and the monster she might become…Couched in a non-stop thriller, this larger-than-life revenge heroine never disappoints.” —CurledUp.com
“Prolific linguist and exquisitely honed killer Munroe is no less effective here for still suffering from past trauma…Stevens’s third series outing is another brisk, adrenaline-fueled adventure with a trail of bodies and a damaged protagonist who may live to kill another day.” —Library Journal
“Stevens’ third Munroe book is another international action-adventure with a Bourne-like avenging angel at the reins.” —Booklist
“Lean and mean thriller featuring Vanessa Michael Munroe, an "informationist" with a scary dark streak… This book is strongly influenced by the existential bare-bones approach of Lee Child's Reacher books, and its brilliant but damaged heroine, the estranged daughter of missionaries, owes much to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. But Stevens stamps the novel with her own bleak, punishing, bullet-flying outlook… Out of that gloomy intensity comes edgy suspense. In Stevens' powerfully contained follow-up to The Innocent, there is no release for the tormented heroine, only license to live another day.” —Kirkus
“Good and bad deeds alike have a high price, as dramatically shown in Stevens’s harrowing third Vanessa Michael Munroe novel…Munroe remains as compelling as ever: violent yet protective of innocence, imprisoned by not only her past but also the choices she has made in response to it, and painfully conscious of her closeness to sanity’s edge.” —Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
The Informationist: A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel (Vanessa Michael Munroe Novels)
The Innocent: A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel (Vanessa Michael Munroe Novels)
The Doll (This one.)
And due July 15, 2014 The Catch: A Novel
One of the things that aggravated me as a reader was the absence of down time. It reached a fever pitch by the end of the first chapter and never let up for 300 pages. As I have not read the earlier books, I didn't feel any connection to Vanessa Michael Munroe. She alluded to some tragedies early on, but there was no emotional connection. There were no breaks in her façade, no where to see inside to the person.
I like gratuitous violence in a thriller novel as much as the next guy but this one went over the top. The violence showed how ruthless the characters were but it could have done so without the constant bloodshed. That being said, I have moved the next Taylor Stevens Vanessa Munroe book into my wish list. I have also put the first book in my Kindle waiting for me to catch up with my reading.
The Doll opens with Munroe's abduction by some mysteriously skillful, wiley, and well-financed bad dudes. Her associate (now lover) Bradford tries to track her down, but the bad guys get her to Europe, where they want her to use her skills to smuggle another kidnapped young lady to a buyer in Monaco. This young lady, a rising Hollywood starlet, was kidnapped by the Doll Maker's people at the request of a client who is paying a tremendous amount of money to add her to his "collection." What follows is Munroe's attempts to following the Doll Maker's instructions as she drives the girl across Europe (he is holding her best friend hostage as collateral), maybe trying to save the girl, and Bradford's efforts stateside to penetrate the Doll Maker's horrible trafficking organization.
The focus of the novel is Munroe's scheming and planning for escape and revenge, but the undertone of the world of human trafficking is strong and disturbing. Granted, the kidnapping of a well-known darling of screen and tabloid seemed a bit over-the-top and unbelievable, but Stevens sheds light on the very real problem of sex trafficking. As Munroe observes, "Were there no market, no buyers, and no men willing to pay for sex, organizations that fed off human misery, and criminals like the Doll Maker who stole and cashed in on the value of the female body, would cease to exist." (Too bad our government doesn't put more resources toward human trafficking instead of wasting money on the pointless, destructive "War on Drugs.")
So in spite of the hard-to-swallow scenario of a celebrity being kidnapped for sale on the sex slave market, and in spite of the unbelievable seemingly omniscient and omnipotent power of the Doll Maker and his organization, and in spite of Munroe's unrealistic super smarts and super fighting skills (which Stevens' readers have come to expect), The Doll is a fun, gripping read, with unexpected twists and turns and a satisfying, if despairing ending. It's at least as good as The Informationist, and probably better than The Innocent. I will look forward to Munroe's next adventure.
Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!
Michael is in the hand's of a ruthless sex trafficker who is bound to get what he wants from her come hell or high water if he has his way. Michael is not intent on letting him do this however. Like the previous two novels in this series, this is a high-octane thriller that takes the reader for a wild ride.
Michael comes with a lot of baggage that is revealed in the earlier novels. Her relationship with Bradford is what has kept her in Dallas where she is kidnapped and he feels very guilty about this. He is determined to find her and get to the bottom of things.
While this book is interesting, it is a bit tired out after the first two and not quite up to their intensity and power. The characterization slips a bit and things are not quite on target.
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