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The Informationist by Taylor Stevens - Excerpt

The Informationist by Taylor Stevens - Excerpt

Ratings:

3.61

(190)
|Views: 11,570 |Likes:
“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….Thriller fans will eagerly await the sequel to this high-octane page-turner.” —Publishers Weekly, starred, boxed review

Vanessa “Michael” Munroe deals in information—expensive information—working for corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. Born to missionary parents in lawless central Africa, Munroe took up with an infamous gunrunner and his mercenary crew when she was just fourteen. As his protégé, she earned the respect of the jungle's most dangerous men, cultivating her own reputation for years until something sent her running. After almost a decade building a new life and lucrative career from her home base in Dallas, she's never looked back.

Until now.

A Texas oil billionaire has hired her to find his daughter who vanished in Africa four years ago. It’s not her usual line of work, but she can’t resist the challenge. Pulled deep into the mystery of the missing girl, Munroe finds herself back in the lands of her childhood, betrayed, cut off from civilization, and left for dead. If she has any hope of escaping the jungle and the demons that drive her, she must come face-to-face with the past that she’s tried for so long to forget.

Gripping, ingenious, and impeccably paced, The Informationist marks the arrival or a thrilling new talent.

To read more about Taylor Stevens or The Informationist please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com.
“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….Thriller fans will eagerly await the sequel to this high-octane page-turner.” —Publishers Weekly, starred, boxed review

Vanessa “Michael” Munroe deals in information—expensive information—working for corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. Born to missionary parents in lawless central Africa, Munroe took up with an infamous gunrunner and his mercenary crew when she was just fourteen. As his protégé, she earned the respect of the jungle's most dangerous men, cultivating her own reputation for years until something sent her running. After almost a decade building a new life and lucrative career from her home base in Dallas, she's never looked back.

Until now.

A Texas oil billionaire has hired her to find his daughter who vanished in Africa four years ago. It’s not her usual line of work, but she can’t resist the challenge. Pulled deep into the mystery of the missing girl, Munroe finds herself back in the lands of her childhood, betrayed, cut off from civilization, and left for dead. If she has any hope of escaping the jungle and the demons that drive her, she must come face-to-face with the past that she’s tried for so long to forget.

Gripping, ingenious, and impeccably paced, The Informationist marks the arrival or a thrilling new talent.

To read more about Taylor Stevens or The Informationist please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com.

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Publish date: Oct 18, 2011
Added to Scribd: Feb 17, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are theproduct of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance toactual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.Copyright © 2011 by Taylor StevensAll rights reserved.Published in the United States by Crown Publishers, an imprint of the CrownPublishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.www.crownpublishing.comCROWN is a trademark and the Crown colophon is a registered trademark of Random House, Inc.Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataStevens, Taylor.The informationist: a novel / Taylor Stevens.—1st ed.p. cm.1. Private investigators—Fiction. 2. Missing persons—Fiction.3. Americans—Africa—Fiction. 4. Business intelligence—Fiction. I. Title. PS3619.T4924I54 2011813'.6—dc22 2009045523ISBN 978-0-307-71709-2 Printed in the United States of America
 Book design by Lynne Amft  Jacket design by Jarrod Taylor 
 
 Jacket photograph: National Geographic/Getty Images
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1First Edition
Read an excerpt of THE INNOCENT.

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amanderson_2 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I liked this thriller for the realistic setting (Africa) and the nonstop action more than anything else. It had its flaws. Fans of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo who enjoyed it for the fierce, damaged heroine, violence, and suspense aspects might enjoy this. Although the mystery plot is not as good, not so suspenseful in the end, and the heroine was rather over the top in her skills. I picked The Informationist up because the reviews were good and I was intrigued that the main character, 20-something Vanessa (aka "Michael") is an "informationist". She immerses herself in countries/places, acquires information from various people and sources through mad people-manipulating skills, incredible intuition, & very unbelievable foreign language abilities (22 languages! Nice). Because she's a genius, she synthesizes the info into terribly useful reports and gets paid lots. Sadly that's about as much info as we get on her methods. She's also a vicious and skilled fighter, and a little crazy. A damaged, sometimes androgynous heroine like Girl with Dragon Tattoo, whose name I forget.

A billionaire oil company dude wants to hire her to find his stepdaughter, an 18-19 year old when she disappeared on an extended travel through various African countries 4 years ago. Previous detective work produced little. Michael doesn't do missing people, but she is lured in by the mystery and because she needs hazardous, intensive research projects to keep her demons at bay. Also, she has a history with Africa - she was raised there by missionary parents, and left relationships behind very abruptly when she left by herself as a teen. Perhaps, she feels, it's time to go back. The billionaire sends a bodyguard/mercenary along with her, and the sleuthing/informationizing commences. The quest turns very hazardous, layered and complicated in the various parts of Africa. The depictions of the politics, cities, insect/other hazards, cultural aspects, etc. are fascinating and seem very realistic (turns out the author has a similar background to her heroine, hopefully without the damage). I disliked how we finally (but not terribly far into the book) got Michael's backstory in one big infodump once she gets to Africa, after having such pleasing hints of her character's personalty and motivations up to that point. Rather anticlimatic to receive it that way. Still, it's a solid action-adventure suspense novel.
skraft001 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
One of the best written books I've ever read and highly recommended to anyone who likes thrillers. Taunt action but paced extremely well -- the exact opposite of say a Clive Cussler novel. Excellent character development and a very well crafted plot that very slowly exposes itself without in any way being contrived with a high amount of believability. This was one of the few books that didn't either end too suddenly or have a post-mortem period after the story was over.
jeanne2h2robinson reviewed this
Rated 5/5
The Informationist by Taylor Stevens was a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping thrill ride. The protagonist is a young woman who is fearless, adventurous, and independent. Vanessa “Michael” Munroe is very good at finding out information in places where the truth is hard to find. She takes an assignment in Africa to find a young woman who disappeared four years ago. I was scared half the time, yet curious to solve the puzzle. There is lots of violence, intrigue, and palpable anxiety. But Michael is fascinating and her story addictive.
4leschats reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Plenty of action in exotic locales. Good insight into cult lifestyles--I really like this series.
hemlokgang reviewed this
Rated 2/5
The protagonist in this novel was overdone. In my opinion she was too hard, too tough, too over the top in every area. The reader from the audiobook was awful.
ellahill_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Summary: I think that the mystery/plot part deserves a B (some parts were a little obvious). The descriptions of Africa and the characters were A+. Overall, this was a very enjoyable read and I can't wait for more from Taylor Stevens.This is an impressive first book. I loved the character of Michael/Vanessa. She had depth, intrigue, and interesting demons in her past. While I understand why people have drawn parallels to Lisbeth Salander (troubled pasts, super abilities, misfits, written off by society, etc), I think that Michael stands on her own. Her language ability, the way she interacts with people, how she comes to terms with her past, and the way she's revealed to the reader make her very different.The author taunts the reader -- feeding them tidbits of information as they clamor for more, much like Michael taunts those she's manipulating in the book. For the reader, this means the good kind of frustration -- the kind that makes you want to keep reading. Usually, interesting characters and/or an intriguing storyline are enough to keep a reader on the hook. Stevens goes one step further. The picture she paints of Africa is fascinating. She gives just enough background information and history to enrich the story without boring the reader.Cons: 1) Miles Bradford was a bit too weak given his background as a security consultant/special forces guy. Under the guise of explaining things to Miles, the author fills the reader in on the African history/local culture part. But I wish that she'd achieved that goal some other way because his level of ignorance is a little bit unbelievable. 2) All the "B" names are easy to mix up in the beginning. 3) Some of the phrasing gets a little bit too flowery at the end of chapters. I don't need every chapter to end with a specially-crafted [over-wrought] phrase or deep thought.
alyson_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
This was just up and down for me. It grabbed me at first, but then I got bogged down. I just did not buy the main character's background. All the comparisons to Lisbeth Salander just made it worse for me. Got caught back up in the story but then felt like the book had a weak ending.
eapalmer_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
A marvelous and entertaining thriller. Stevens' portrayal of West Central Africa is extraordinary. The plot twists are surprising, but, in retrospect, they make perfect sense. Munroe is an intriguing character, perhaps a little too perfect, but fun to watch.My biggest criticism of the book is that the typeface is awful. Too small, oddly spaced, too light.
dpappas_25 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
This book was a solid debut by Taylor Stevens. Vanessa Munroe is definitely an odd but interesting character but I don't quite agree completely with the Lisbeth Salander comparisons. In the beginning I had a hard time keeping my interest in this book but after the first 100 pages it became much more interesting to me. The ending was great and I would be interested in reading the next book in the series.
readingwithtea reviewed this
Rated 4/5
"There was something deeply affecting about language. If expected, it meant nothing. But if it came by surprise as a gesture of friendship, it was an instant opening, a form of flattery guaranteed to attain the objective for its master."Vanessa "Michael" Munroe does not take orders, particularly not from rich men. When she is offered a truly absurd amount of money to find a Texas oil billionaire's step-daughter, she has doubts about returning to the stomping-ground of her youth; yet to track down Emily she will not only have to go back to Equatorial Guinea, but she will have to tolerate being babysat by Burbank's eminently handsome mercenary, Miles Bradford.The first thing to note is that Munroe is very similar to Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander. She is damaged and reacts very negatively to human connections. She is bizarrely talented (in Munroe's case, she knows an absurd and really quite implausible number of languages) and attuned to the enemy's evil intentions. Nevertheless, she is quite different to Salander - more personable, reckless in a different sort of way, and her interpersonal relationships or lack thereof are less... disturbed... than Salander's.Stevens has written a plot fast-paced enough to keep a reader on their toes, while permitting for occasional introspective phases in which Munroe's demons air their grievances and she appears to almost lose control of herself. The setting is sufficiently obscure and remote that anything might happen there, and despite a large amount of travelling, the pace of the characters' movements seemed plausible. What would have been extremely helpful would be a map of Equatorial Guinea, where the vast majority of the action takes place. There was a lot of travel south and around islands and it was all a bit confusing.That said, I was rather more impressed with this debut than I expected to be, and I will be looking out for the next of Munroe's adventures.

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