The Innocent by Taylor Stevens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Vanessa Michael Munroe is not your average – at anything. Her specialty is information gathering, but she will use her skills in self-defense if necessary. Jason Bourne and Lisbeth Salander have nothing on this chick. Cute and sometimes feminine on the outside, lethal on the inside.
Michael, the name she sometimes uses when posing as a man, was born in Africa to missionary parents who sent her away to be raised by friends at age thirteen. After further neglect, she ventured out on her own and became a translator for the local gunrunner. Sadistic abuse by a mercenary trained Michael to become expert at protecting herself, her most lethal weapons being her own two hands, with knives a close second. Even a small touch by a stranger causes Munroe to be consumed with the compulsion for battle.
Although Munroe is usually hired to gather information, traveling around the globe and creating alternate personas to get the job done, in the second of Stevens’ series, THE INNOCENT, Michael is asked by her best friend, Logan, to rescue a girl who’d been kidnapped by The Chosen of God cult and taken to Argentina. Michael, and her mercenary companion, Miles Bradford, must infiltrate the cult, and extract the girl with minimal collateral damage. Given the extreme complications, Michael believes the mission’s success might just come at a huge cost.
This book is not just fun ninja-killer-spy action. It also delves into Michael’s complex emotional and psychological make-up. Munroe constantly wrestles with the demons that chase her, even in her dreams. Her extreme skill at killing is contrary to what she believes a moral person should possess, and the guilt she wears like a second skin comes close to destroying her. I love the complexities of this character’s personality. Stevens does an expert job of showing us not only Munroe’s talents, but her human frailties as well.
Not only does Stevens weave a colorful tapestry of global intrigue and adventure, her personal experiences growing up in various third-world countries around the globe as a member of The Children of God cult fuels the complex emotional make-up of Vanessa Michael Munroe. Stevens’ first-hand knowledge of constantly living on the fringe of society gives her an expert insight into the fragile psychopathy of her main character.
Stevens is a firm believer in portraying authenticity, and her singular personal experiences allow her to do just that. Her past life as a cult-child gives readers of THE INNOCENT an inside look at the life inside a religious cult, where uneducated children are treated as property to be used for manual labor, begging, and sexual gratification.
Taylor Stevens has a genuine, no-bullshit style, whose fascinating, albeit tragic history shapes her stories. She loves to personally connect with her readers, and truly welcomes and values each and every compliment she receives. You’ll never meet a nicer, more gracious author who loves reaching out to her fans. Taylor Stevens – YOU ROCK!
I think it’s time for another woman to join the ranks of Jason Bourne, Jack Reacher, and Lisbeth Salander as one of the world’s most remarkable new-wave superheroes, and Vanessa Michael Munroe is just the one to do it!