When Taylor Stevens' debut novel The Infomationist came out last year, I was aware of the buzz, but never got around to picking it up. Well, this New York Times bestseller is newly released in trade paperback, so I picked it up - and had a hard time putting it down. Wow - what a non stop thriller!
Vanessa Michael Munroe grew up in Africa, rebelling against the upbringing her missionary parents envisioned for her. Instead she made her own way, creating her own niche as an 'informationist'. Her 'unique' set of skills make her sought after by corporations and private clients. But her latest client is looking for more than information. He wants Vanessa to look for his stepdaughter, who vanished four years ago while travelling through Africa. Although it's not really her kind of case, he's offering a lot of money, so she says yes.
What made it hard to put down? I loved the character. Her past is alluded to in the beginning and only really fleshed out as the book progresses. I wanted to know more about her. It was fantastic to have such a kick a** female protagonist, one who can hold her own in almost any situation. Over the top? Maybe - but a delicious piece of escapist reading.
What I also enjoyed was having a setting outside of North America. I was initially surprised by Stevens' choice until I learned a bit more about the author herself. She has lived in many of the countries she writes about and more. Stevens was born into the infamous Children of God cult and went where she was sent until she escaped when she was 28. Much of the Moore's emotions and conflicts seem to be pulled from Stevens' reality. What makes The Informationist even more impressive is that Stevens has a formal education level of grade six.
When reading The Informationist, I started to picture Vanessa Michael Moore as Angelina Jolie. If you enjoyed Jolie in the roles she played in Tomb Raider and Salt , you would really enjoy this character. Or if you're looking for a female Jack Reacher character. The next book in this series The Innocent is due out Dec 27th. Stevens will be drawing on her own past again - Vanessa is on the hunt for a child being hidden by a cult. This reader will be definitely picking it up! Read an excerpt of The Informationist.
You can find Stevens on Facebook and on Twitter.