Friday, April 29, 2011

Julie's Review: The Informationist

The Informationist: A Thriller Summary: 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. Nine years have passed since Munroe, the daughter of American missionaries, escaped Cameroon at age 15 after a violent incident. She's forged a new life in Texas as an "informationist," a person who specializes in gathering information about developing countries for corporations. Munroe's best friend, marketing consultant Kate Breeden, refers her to Miles Bradford, a high-stakes security pro, who believes she's the perfect choice to help Houston oilman Richard Burbank find his adopted daughter, Emily, who vanished four years earlier at age 18 while vacationing in west central Africa. Munroe returns to Africa, where she reconnects with her ex-boyfriend, Francisco Beyard, a sexy drug- and gun-running businessman, who assists in the dangerous search for Emily. Thriller fans will eagerly await the sequel to this high-octane page-turner.

Review: The Informationist is a high octane thriller that dives into the jungle of Africa. We are quickly introduced to Vanessa "Michael" Munroe who is gutsy, courageous and deadly. I found her utterly fascinating. She is complex and yet there is something under her surface that screams vulnerability to me. She hasn't had an easy life but it's the life she's chosen.

Vanessa is the best at what she does and she knows it. She demands a high price for her job - information gathering. She can get information that others can not about remote parts of the world. She is hired through her intermediary, Kate Breeden, to look for oil magnate Richard Burbank's missing daughter. She disappeared 4 years prior in the remote areas of Africa, without further contact. Vanessa takes the job knowing that is will bring back haunting memories of her youth in Africa. Even perhaps, that she won't come back at all.

I loved this book! I loved how Ms. Stevens peeled back the layers of Vanessa like an onion; slowly revealing what was at her her core. She was ruthless, angry and a vigilante. She has shut her self down to all emotion to be the best at her job. Emotions only cloud the job that is to be done and she can't afford any mistakes.

I loved the setting of the novel. Now Africa settings are not anything new in books, but Ms. Stevens takes us to countries that we have heard of but don't know much about. These countries have politics that would put the U.S. to shame. Coups happen at the drop of a hat and you never know who to trust.

The novel takes us on quite the roller coaster ride and it's one I didn't want to get off. By the end of the novel you completely understand who Vanessa and the things that motivate her to survive. As a reader, you might not always agree with her decisions but you always understand the survivalist in her.

Ms. Stevens wrote Africa's jungles and politics with such ease that I understood them very quickly. It's obvious that she has first hand knowledge/experience in these remote areas of this expansive country.

It's obvious by the ending that we will be seeing Vanessa again and I can't wait! It will definitely be a pre-order for me.

Run out and read this. You won't regret it!

Final Take: 4.75/5

Note: I could definitely see this as a movie but all I am asking is that Angelina Jolie isn't casted as Vanessa.


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