By Taylor Stevens
Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Crown Publishers, 2011
Genres: Thriller, adventure, suspense
Series: Vanessa Michael Munroe; 1
Number of pages: 307
Setting: Mainly set in Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon, Africa. Also set in Houston, Texas and Frankfurt, Germany, with brief stints in Ankara, Turkey and Paris, France.
Time period: Contemporary
Plot summary: When a Texas oil man’s daughter goes missing in Africa, he attempts to find her but discovers nothing. Four years later, he hires Vanessa “Michael” Munroe to try to learn what happened to her. This is outside of Munroe’s usual line of work, which is gathering expensive information for both corporations and governments. However, Munroe is quite familiar with much of Africa, and agrees to accept the assignment. Munroe soon discovers that there is more to this assignment than she was led to believe.
Pacing: Fast pace which increases significantly after the first third of the story.
Characterization: Told in third person mainly through Michael. Important secondary characters include Miles Bradford, Francisco Beyard, Kate Breeden, & Logan.
Frame: The opening scenes for the book indicate that the story will be violent and that Munroe is persistent in accomplishing her goals.
Story line: A suspenseful and engrossing story which includes a highly intelligent and yet deeply disturbed main character.
Missing persons — Fiction.
Americans — Africa — Fiction.
Business intelligence — Fiction.
Private investigators — Fiction.
Possibly similar works:
Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
Where are you now? by Mary Higgins Clark
Never Say Die by Tess Gerritsen
The Husband by Dean Koontz
Personal notes: I would have liked this story so much more if the main character had resisted her demons rather than giving in to them. I also thought that the beginning of the book moved rather slowly for a “thriller” and that the title was pretty lame. For a first novel, the story was very well written, but because I had a problem with the main character, I’m not sure if I’ll seek out any more in this series. Also, the ending seemed rushed to me – details which I thought should have been revealed were glossed over.
I was initially drawn to this book because I read a review comparing Munroe to Lisbeth Salander. I didn’t think that the two have anything in common other than their sex. They are both intelligent, but in much different ways. Munroe is much more American – in the shoot first, ask questions later style. In fact, I would not suggest this book to people who like Larsson’s series unless I knew much more about what type of characters they like. This story reminded me much more of Clive Cussler’s work than Larsson’s.
Other (diversity, themes, websites): Diversity – Africans, child of missionaries, rape victim, transgender individual, gun/ drug runner, male homosexual, psychologically distressed