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Editorial Reviews

This strikingly solid debut from Taylor Stevens is already earning some remarkably weighty comparisons, most notably to Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne trilogy and Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander series. The first in a plan for at least three books, The Informationist introduces us to Vanessa Michael Munroe. Munroe is certainly the love child of Bourne and Salander, a fierce fighting machine with a gift for technology and an ability to blend into any environment. But she also has a unique feature that most thriller protagonists can’t touch: Munroe’s past is based heavily on Stevens’ own history. Born into the controversial Children of God cult, Stevens travelled the world under conditions of harsh discipline and intense violence. Ultimately fleeing the commune but never quite able to escape the demons it awakened within her, the author endows her hero with a considerably more believable inner monologue than many similarly hardened good guys whose authors do not have the benefit of any ordeals relevant to their characters.

As Munroe runs all over central Africa trying to put down the terrifying reminders of her childhood in the region and pick up the cold trail of a missing girl, listeners encounter a dozen different local accents and several assorted languages, from German and French to Fang and Portuguese. Thankfully, Audie Award-winner and veteran narrator Hillary Huber is there to guide us through it. Her tough and sexy natural voice is a perfect fit for Munroe, and Huber’s deftly diligent rendering of each accent is an absolute delight to the ear. This international flavor is crucial to the ambience and pace of the story, and any lesser narrator would have taken all the life out of it. Though Stevens incorporates many traditional characters like the possibly nefarious Texan billionaire, the macho sidekick who can’t really keep up, and the rugged jungle gun-runner, The Informationist is brimming with fresh perspective and depth thanks to the one-two punch of Stevens’ wealth of personal experience and Huber’s professional savvy. —Megan Volpert

Publisher's Summary

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.

©2011 Taylor Stevens (P)2011 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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The Informationist

If you could sum up The Informationist in three words, what would they be?

Wild, Wonderful ride into hell and back.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Michael Munroe, I have a soft-spot for female thugs! Love them.

Which character – as performed by Hillary Huber – was your favorite?

I enjoyed them all. Hillary Huber is one of the best audiobook performers that I have listened to. I think she made the book so real for me.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me do both, but overall it is about survival and justice. I also loved the descriptions of Africa. I have not really known anything about it.

Any additional comments?

It is a book you think about long after you are through reading it.<br/>

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
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  • Andrea
  • AGUANGA, CA, United States
  • 04-15-12

Trying too hard to be cool and sophisticated

I did enjoy this book, especially all the descriptions of travel to various countries in Africa. It just felt rather contrived or forced. The main character reminded me of Nikita on TV. She was overly tough one minute, and soft and caring the next. Every handsome man in the book fell in love with her. There was lots of action, but it seemed as if they were always approaching a dangerous checkpoint on a road in the middle of the jungle or back on the boat on the high seas. They, of course, left a trail of bodies behind them. The narrator's voice became very breathy at times and overly excited at other times. She was inconsistent, but some of the accents she did were impressive.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • D. WARD
  • Midlothian, Virginia United States
  • 09-11-11

A great listen

I cant wait for another book by Taylor Stevens. Really enjoyed this, it was gritty,complex, but always easy to follow.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • E
  • Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
  • 09-05-11

Can't wait for her next novel

I enjoyed the plot. It had colourful characters, good descriptives without boring me with fillers, and a satisfying ending.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

It Takes Time

This book takes some time to get in to. It has a lot of backstory and character development to create before much of the plot takes place. The plot was a little hard for me to follow because it takes place in Africa and that is not a setting I have much knowledge of. The red herrings in the book were well played, but I suspected who was behind the problem early on. I enjoyed the book, but had a few problems with the reader. I mean really, a professional who doesn't know how to pronounce "superfluous." Also, her Texas accent was awful. I would read another book by this author, especially if Monroe is the main character.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • PETER WADE
  • CINCINNATI, OH United States
  • 07-04-11

WHAT A NICE SURPRISE!

I was intrigued by the Audible summary and although the author hasn't written much, I took a chance on this one, and it was one of the best books I have read/listened to in a while. The tough, capable heroine was believable, sort of a female Jack Reacher (who isn't so believable), which was unique. The backdrop of West Africa was fascinating. A good read, highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Interesting, very good!

I didn't know if I was going to like this book, it's a bit different but I really enjoyed it. I gave it 4 stars and would recommend to my friends! LOTS of action, very fast paced and believe me, if you think you know the ending, you don't! :)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Todd
  • Plain City, UT, United States
  • 04-15-11

Awesome read....

In my line of work, I listen to ALOT of books. I was feeling bored when I ran across this one. It caught me from the first chapter! Story line was intriguing and believeable. The back story made it better. Would recommend highly! I want more of Taylor Stevens....

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lindsay
  • SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, United States
  • 04-13-11

Spellbinding

For those wanting something more after finishing "The Girl with the Dragon's Tatttoo" series, "The Informationist" will satisfy. While Lisbeth Salander gets her information by hacking, Michael (an androgynous woman with mad knife skills) has a knack for learning languages and blending into different cultures. This allows her to gather specialized information from even the most difficult sources. "The Informationist" also has that foreign feel of Lisbeth Salander's story because most of the book takes place in Africa, where Michael grew up. I found this book to be thoroughly entertaining. The narrator didn't rock my world, but she was entirely sufficient.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • John
  • Somerset, KY, United States
  • 04-12-11

Enjoyed it and recommend, but it's not Larsson

Enjoyed the book and recommend it if you like "situational thrillers". Not as good as the Stieg Larsson or Millennium Trilogy books, but if you like the genre you will like this book. The authors background is interesting and comes through the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful