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Corporations need her. Governments pay her. Criminals fear her.
But nobody sees her coming. Vanessa Munroe is …
by Taylor Stevens
Part Jack Reacher, part Sydney Bristow, Vanessa “Michael” Munroe deals in information—expensive information—for corporations, government agencies, and private clients who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. With her keen analytical mind, uncanny knack for languages, and somewhat androgynous physique, Munroe is able to succeed where others fail. In Taylor Stevens’s pulse-pounding debut thriller THE INFORMATIONIST (Crown; on sale March 8, 2011), Munroe is hired by a wealthy oil tycoon in search of his stepdaughter who has vanished in Africa four years earlier.
Born to missionary parents in lawless central Africa, Munroe had a childhood that was anything but ordinary. Her penchant for rebellion led her into the company of infamous gunrunner, Francisco Beyard, and his mercenary crew when she was just fourteen years old. With Beyard, she learned how to fight and to navigate the unforgiving terrain of central Africa, quickly building a reputation as the young white girl who could speak the native languages and conform to nearly any unique community. During her time with Beyard, Munroe also learned how to keep a secret. It was that secret that sent her running from Africa, from Francisco, and from everything she’d ever known, without ever looking back. Until now…
After his stepdaughter goes missing in Equatorial Guinea while traveling with friends, billionaire Texas oil tycoon Richard Burbank appeals to Munroe for help. Four years, dozens of investigations, and countless dollars have flown by, leaving Munroe as the last and best hope for finding out what really happened to Emily Burbank. Once she agrees to return to Africa, Munroe is quickly pulled into the mystery of the missing girl that seems to permeate the air in the all-too-familiar lands of her childhood.
As Munroe digs deeper and deeper into the last known whereabouts of Emily, it becomes clear that someone wants this to be the first and last time that Munroe does not ==italics OK?==succeed in getting the information that she seeks. Betrayed, cut off from civilization, and fighting for her life, Munroe has no choice but to face the past she has tried so long to forget, if she has any hope of getting out of Africa alive.
Much like her worldly heroine, Taylor Stevens lived for part of her life in unruly Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. Born into the Children of God cult, Stevens lived all over the world, spending time in Germany, Mexico, France, Japan, and many other countries all before the age of fourteen, and then later, Africa. As a child, Taylor was separated from her parents and siblings for months at a time, and in lieu of schooling was made to care for dozens of other children, clean and cook for commune members, and beg for money on the street. Forced to end her education at age twelve, she used her imagination as a coping mechanism, creating stories for other commune children. Once caught writing stories, however, she was put into solitary confinement and held without food. Her stories were destroyed forever.
In Africa, Taylor plotted her escape from the cult. Nearly penniless, without formal education, and with no social structure on “the outside,” a pregnant Taylor, her husband, and their young child fled for the United States. Once in Texas, spurred by a desire to live without any regrets, Taylor scoured garage sales for old books and read voraciously. Slowly, her natural gift for storytelling came back and she began writing the incredible saga of Vanessa Munroe.
The first in a trilogy, THE INFORMATIONIST has already received amazing early acclaim and introduces Stevens as a major new talent. Readers of Lee Child, Barry Eisler, and Robert Ludlum, and fans of Stieg Larsson’s feisty protagonist Lisbeth Salander will gravitate toward Stevens’s fierce heroine. With unique and complex characters, and a plot that transports readers all over the world from the United States to Equatorial Guinea, THE INFORMATIONIST grabs readers from the very beginning and never lets go.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
TAYLOR STEVENS was born into a religious cult and raised all over the world before breaking free of the movement. She now lives in Dallas, Texas, where she is writing a second novel featuring Vanessa Munroe.
by Taylor Stevens
Crown • March 8, 2011
Also available in audio and electronic versions