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The Mask (Vanessa Michael Munroe) Paperback – March 29, 2016
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"Munroe is a sensational character and Stevens is a sensational writer." – Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Reacher series
"The Mask... is the rare thriller that gets better the more you think about it...the kind of crackling thriller we’ve come to expect from Stevens." – Dallas Morning News
"[Munroe is] a protagonist as deadly as she is irresistible." – Vince Flynn
"If you are a fan of Jack Reacher, Lisbeth Salander, or Nina Zero, you need to check out Vanessa Michael Munroe!" – Bookpage
"A winning series character who has the world at her beck and call."– Los Angeles Times
"Munroe's brooding personality and her ability to blend into her surroundings bring to mind the provocative Jason Bourne." – USA Today
“Stevens doesn’t disappoint, filling the book with nonstop action, deception, and ramped-up tension. Readers will want to start at the beginning of the series to learn more about Munroe and how she became such a fierce and complex character.” – Booklist
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
TAYLOR STEVENS is the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of The Informationist, The Innocent, The Doll, The Catch, and the novella The Vessel. The series featuring Vanessa Michael Munroe has received critical acclaim and the books are published in twenty languages. The Informationist has been optioned for film by James Cameron's production company, Lightstorm Entertainment. Born in New York State, and into the Children of God, raised in communes across the globe and denied an education beyond sixth grade, Stevens was in her twenties when she broke free to follow hope and a vague idea of what possibilities lay beyond. She now lives in Texas, and is at work on the next Munroe novel.
Top customer reviews
At the beginning of the book Munroe arrives in Japan. Trying to recover after the ordeals that she went through in “The Catch”, Munroe is playing house with Bradford while he is working as a security consultant. Just when Munroe begins to feel at peace, Bradford is arrested for murder. Munroe is infuriated. She knows that there were things that Bradford was keeping from her and his dishonesty feels like a betrayal. But Bradford’s arrest is not something she can walk away from. In order to save Bradford, she needs to shed the girlfriend façade and once again, become the detached spy to dig into the work he was doing. Although it is a personal interest for her, she needs to be all business to save him.
Part of what makes these novels so interesting is how Munroe and Bradford are so muddled in what is right and wrong. “Given the life that Bradford had led, he wasn’t an innocent man. / War made murderers out of honest men – proclaiming guiltless by law what the conscience would later bear in shame – but there was innocence and then there was innocence, and if Bradford had targeted a kill, then the body would have disappeared and the evidence scattered and never found.” (The Mask, pg 53/54). There is no question in her mind that Bradford did not commit the murder he was arrested for, but she also acknowledges that he is not someone completely innocent. This is something that I really like about these books. Munroe knows that she is not your typical hero. She does a lot of bad things, and worse than that, she enjoys it most of the time. She is truly flawed, but at her heart she wants to do the right thing. Despite all that she has been through, she wants to help.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, but not to everyone. Established Munroe fans would definitely enjoy reading “The Mask” as I certainly did. But Munroe is a unique character that is constantly pushed up against violence and has to retaliate, often losing herself and pushing a little too far. Killing isn’t just an instinct to Munroe when she is cornered, but something she craves. This reluctant bloodlust is part of why Munroe would not appeal to everyone. She is a dark and complex character, and she isn’t for everyone. Personally, I think Munroe is amazing and I cannot wait to read the next book.
In each new book, not only are we entertained by Munroe’s skill in self-defense, but we delve more deeply into her personality – her strengths and weaknesses. And again, the hardened warrior not only carries out her mission, but rescues others along the way. We see her empathy for women who have been mistreated, for people who are broken. Just like Munroe. Once again, her compassion for victims outweighs her hard veneer, and she once again does what’s right to save the one most vulnerable.
Although her character is akin to a super-ninja-killer-spy, readers are also given glimpses of her frailties and weaknesses; what makes her human.
The novel begins with an assault against Munroe on day 7, then backtracks to day 63 before the event that shifts her world once again. The story is told in chronological order until the pivotal incident, and then continues for another 24 days after. As always, we are plunged into Munroe’s dangerous occupation, but instead of Africa and Europe, we are taken to Osaka, Japan.
The plot is action-packed and entertaining. Readers can’t help but admire Munroe’s extreme skill at self-defense, but also relate to her brokenness and emotional upheaval. Another great read, Taylor!
When her boyfriend is wrongly jailed, Michael decides to discover the real killer. To do so effectively, she must take it on as a paid project, completely separate from her relationship.
The story rolls quickly from there and ends with a few unexpected twists. Stevens took care with her setting research. As a consequence this novel's locational "feel" compares well to those by Barry Eisler or Sujata Massey.
13 Days: The Pythagoras Conspiracy