Taylor Stevens was raised in a cult, the Children of God, and lived a nomadic existence that took her across Europe, Asia, and Africa. She claims to have read only 30 novels in her life. The Informationist is her debut novel, the first in a planned series.
The Story: Vanessa Munroe is very good at uncovering secrets for anyone willing to pay her price. But she is reluctant to help Texas oilman Richard Burbank find his 22-year-old daughter, Emily, who disappeared four years ago in Africa. Africa brings Munroe memories of a troubled childhood and the man she once loved. The mystery of Emily--and the paycheck--have a powerful allure, though. Accompanied by security expert Miles Bradford, Munroe returns to the land of her birth and discovers that someone will do whatever it takes to ensure that Emily's fate remains a mystery.
Crown. 320 pages. $23. ISBN: 9780307717092
"[A]n irresistible, gorgeously written thriller. ... The Informationist is that extremely rare book that's both plot-propelled and character-driven (yes, I know there are creative-writing teachers who'll scream that that's impossible, but they haven't read this book)." Joy Tipping
Missouri News Tribune
"[T]he action doesn't let up and the book will refuse to be put down. ... [A] remarkable thriller; intense and heartbreaking, with a chilling, killer climax." Michelle Wiener
"Taylor Stevens' debut thriller is a confident and capable ride of international globe-trotting suspense that recalls the pace and fury of a Robert Ludlum airport paperback and employs the self-preserving perversity of Patricia Highsmith's Tom Ripley novels." Roberto Ontiveros
"Munroe evokes the spirit and intelligence of the gutsy, damaged Salander, but she's far from derivative. ... Thank goodness a sequel to this fiery novel is in the works." Carol Memmott
"Though the Salander comparisons come fast and furious from the publisher and other critics, Munroe comes off as a creation all Stevens's own. ... In The Informationist, Stevens has created a character who, possibly like herself, may not always know what dangers [lie] in front of her or how she'll come out ahead, but it's our pleasure to travel these strange, exciting roads with her." Jason Pinter
With its androgynous heroine and nail-biting action sequences, The Informationist drew the inevitable comparisons to Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). But critics were quick to add that the novel lives up to its hype. Reviewers described Stevens's debut was described as a smart thriller with a complex heroine, a riveting story line, and a pace that never sags. And while one critic found the dialogue stilted in parts and filled with awkward exposition, the overall review was positive. Critics can barely wait for the next entry in the series.