Book Review: The Informationist – Taylor Stevens

Title: The Informationist
Author: Taylor Stevens
ISBN: 9780307717092
Pages: 320
Release Date: March 8, 2011
Publisher: Crown
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

Vanessa Michael Munroe (“Michael” to her clients) is an informationist, someone who can find answers to any question.  If there is information out there, she’ll find it.  While she usually works for corporations, Michael receives an intriguing request from Richard Burbank, the head of an oil company.  His stepdaughter went missing in west Africa four years ago, and he wants to make one last desperate effort to find her before he gives her up for dead.  But when Burbank makes his request of Michael, he doesn’t realize that what he is asking her to do is confront a past she thought she’d left behind.

Review:

When I first heard about The Informationist, all I knew was that the main character was “like Lisbeth Salander,” and I’ll have to admit, this made me wary.  I think it does a disservice to a debut novel to compare it to such a phenomenon as the Stieg Larsson series, especially because readers will go in with their own preconceived notions as to what the book will be about.  However, I decided to put that aside and go into this book with no expectations, and I’m glad I did.  The Informationist is a gripping, riveting thriller/mystery combination that had me at the edge of my seat.

Michael is a very interesting character.  I appreciated her talents, but it was her personality I really was intrigued by.  I can’t really say whether I liked her as a person or not; she made some difficult decisions and questionable choices, yet at the same time it didn’t matter.  This surprised me because usually character appeal is one of my main issues with books, but in this case, Michael just fit the story.  It made sense.

I also enjoyed learning about how Michael went about gathering information.  She speaks multiple languages, knows how to use weapons, and isn’t opposed to crossdressing if it will help her with her mission.  This part of the book was fascinating for me, as it really showed how good Michael is at her job and how far she’ll go to get the information requested of her.

The mystery in The Informationist is complicated, and at times, it seems like nothing makes sense, or will ever make sense.  But if readers just go with it, they will realize there is a larger story unfolding.  Stevens does a wonderful job tying everything together, making sure everything is clearly explained for the reader by the end of the novel.  Even if it seems as though the plot is leading to a place where no explanation will serve, if you have faith and keep reading, you will be rewarded.

The Informationist is set up as the first in a series, which is good news for mystery/thriller fans.  Michael is really intriguing, and while her character is well developed in this book, it’s clear that Stevens isn’t giving away everything yet.  She’s still a bit of a mystery to the reader, which means there is a lot of territory to explore in future books.  I can’t wait for the sequel to The Informationist in order to see where Michael goes next.

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Comments

  1. I loved the character of Lisbeth, and doubt anybody else is going to match up. Still, there is no harm in going down the same path of “strong, quirky, smart, flawed” as long as the author is prepared to work hard to deliver. Those are big shoes to fill.

  2. I loved the character of Lisbeth, and doubt anybody else is going to match up. Still, there is no harm in going down the same path of “strong, quirky, smart, flawed” as long as the author is prepared to work hard to deliver. Those are big shoes to fill.

  3. I agree, it was a disservice to talk about Munroe and Lisbeth in the same breath. They are actually quite different characters. I also agree that it’s hard to say whether I like Michael, but that doesn’t seem to matter. I definitely respect her and her abilities.

  4. I agree, it was a disservice to talk about Munroe and Lisbeth in the same breath. They are actually quite different characters. I also agree that it’s hard to say whether I like Michael, but that doesn’t seem to matter. I definitely respect her and her abilities.

  5. I’m looking forward to reading this one. Yes, Lisbeth’s shoes are big ones, but I guess it gives the reader a hint of an idea of the type of protagonist. Still, I’ll be interested in seeing how this new book goes.

  6. I’m looking forward to reading this one. Yes, Lisbeth’s shoes are big ones, but I guess it gives the reader a hint of an idea of the type of protagonist. Still, I’ll be interested in seeing how this new book goes.

  7. It is something quite big to compare Michael to Lisbeth, but it also draws me in to make my own comparisons. Thanks for the intriguing review, if I get the chance perhaps I will check this out!

  8. It is something quite big to compare Michael to Lisbeth, but it also draws me in to make my own comparisons. Thanks for the intriguing review, if I get the chance perhaps I will check this out!

  9. Michael sounds like a really interesting character which is something I really appreciate in novels. Thanks for the suggestion!

  10. Michael sounds like a really interesting character which is something I really appreciate in novels. Thanks for the suggestion!

  11. I love a book that keeps me on the edge of my seat like that!

  12. I love a book that keeps me on the edge of my seat like that!

  13. Since I haven’t read the Larsson series yet I am safe from comparison. This sounds like a book I would enjoy!

  14. Since I haven’t read the Larsson series yet I am safe from comparison. This sounds like a book I would enjoy!

  15. I’m intrigued by this novel, thrillers are my thing. Thanks for a great review.

  16. I’m intrigued by this novel, thrillers are my thing. Thanks for a great review.

  17. Hmm – between you and @BethFishReads, it looks like I might have to read this one. I like the differentness of the setting.

  18. Hmm – between you and @BethFishReads, it looks like I might have to read this one. I like the differentness of the setting.

  19. To be honest, its comparison to Larsson’s series made me want to read it. It’s one of the reasons I now have it in my e-book queue at the library. I was debating whether to keep it there, but based on your review, I definitely will.

  20. To be honest, its comparison to Larsson’s series made me want to read it. It’s one of the reasons I now have it in my e-book queue at the library. I was debating whether to keep it there, but based on your review, I definitely will.

  21. I am not all the way done with yet, but so far so good. Its is good enough that I don’t want to rush throught it. I don’t get the reviews that say the main character is a copy of Salander from Steig Larsen books. I think more books should be written about strong, smart females who can fend for themselves.

  22. I am not all the way done with yet, but so far so good. Its is good enough that I don’t want to rush throught it. I don’t get the reviews that say the main character is a copy of Salander from Steig Larsen books. I think more books should be written about strong, smart females who can fend for themselves.

  23. Myself and experience with different shoes and from being very trying to shoes myself

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