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The Innocent: A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel…
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The Innocent: A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel (edition 2012)

by Taylor Stevens

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2132254,782 (3.74)3
Member:suetu
Title:The Innocent: A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel
Authors:Taylor Stevens
Info:Broadway (2012), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, ARC, audiobook, Vine, thriller

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The Innocent by Taylor Stevens

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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Just like The Informationist, this book has a fast-paced plot, exciting twists, touching romance, and an interesting locale. The Innocent confronts some heavy themes - namely, religious indoctrination and child abuse - and a couple of scenes are just painful to read. It really raises the stakes for Michael’s mission, making you root for her to succeed. Once again, Michael’s character is completely over the top (in an entertaining way), and I can’t wait to read more of her adventures. Overall, I enjoyed The Innocent just as much as the first book. I highly recommend this series for anyone looking for a good escape. ( )
  les121 | Mar 16, 2014 |
This is book two of the Vanessa Michael Munroe series.

Vanessa, who goes by Michael, is an “information specialist” who takes on million dollar contracts to find out inside information about companies, people, and even countries. She does what it takes to complete her assignments, including murder if necessary, and is known for never failing to deliver. Born in Africa to missionaries and left on her own by age 14, she has lived in thirteen countries and speaks twenty-two languages. She was abused, but battle trained, and can hold her own in a fight. Moreover, she can look like a man if she needs to, or a woman if it will work better to get what she wants.

In the first book of the series, she took a job that sent her back to Africa, and she lost a colleague during that mission that still gives her pain and nightmares. She gained a new one too, however: Miles Bradford, mid-thirties, former Special Forces, and now a private contractor for a “bullets-and-blood mercenary outfit.” In other words, he does work similar to what she does herself.

At the beginning of this second book, Michael, currently in Morocco, is still in recovery mode when she is contacted by her best friend from back in Texas, Logan, for help with a job that may not pay her very much, but is close to his heart. He is trying to save a 13-year-old girl very special to him who was kidnapped by a religious cult, The Chosen of God. He received word that Hannah is in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Michael is the only one he knows who could pinpoint her location and get her out.

Michael, Miles and Logan all travel to Buenos Aires, along with two additional former members of the Cult (Logan was brought up by cult-member parents until he was evicted as a teenager), to provide whatever background and help they can.

In researching her assignment, Michael discovers not only background about the abusive nature of the cult that brings all of her violent “revenge” demons screaming to the surface, but also that the rescue will be more complicated than she thought: the cult is somehow connected to a dangerous criminal mob.

When she is cornered by seven well-armed and dangerous mob members in a remote warehouse, it doesn’t look like this time even she can pull through.

Discussion: The author, as she explains on her website, is herself a former member of a “a communal apocalyptic cult” who finally broke free in her twenties. Like Hannah in the story, Stevens says that “My innocence and scholastic education stopped completely when I was twelve-years-old.” Reading in the book what Hannah endured, one hates to imagine the horrors in the author’s past. (She admits: “I pull heavily from personal experience and the experience of the ones I love when creating the worlds they walk in.”)

In an interview she explained that, just like in the book:

"Members were encouraged to change sexual partners whenever they liked and eschew birth control. In the 40-odd years of the cult’s existence, approximately 35,000 people have filtered though its network; over 13,000 of those were children who, like Stevens, were born into it. Allegations of adult sexual contact with children in the early years were rampant, and by the time of [the cult founder’s] death, in 1994, he was wanted by Interpol for inciting sexual abuse against children.”

Ugh, just ugh. I wish I could rant and rave against the author for imagining such horrible things just to make a good book. How I wish I could! If you read the interview, you will see there are many other aspects of her childhood that are replicated in the story. (Elements from the first book also came from experiences in Stevens’ life.) But one can hope this act of exorcism will help her heal. She says about writing this book, “I could get all the revenge I wanted and not have to worry about how things really worked out for people,” she says. “It was great.”

Evaluation: Almost immediately after starting this book, I set it down and re-read The Informationist. I don’t know if it would have been necessary had I not known about it, but I wanted to get all the nuances and references in the beginning of this story, and it had just been too long for me. It’s probably not necessary for most people who have already read the first, or even for those who never did. I just have a brain like a colander.

This book has drama, suspense, and the horrible distinction of being based on real-life. ( )
  nbmars | Nov 13, 2013 |
I dragged out reading this a long time (16 days!), and I still wish it would have kept going. It feels like my friends just left.

Review to come later. ( )
  OstensiblyA1 | Sep 20, 2013 |
The Innocent by Taylor Stevens is the second in her Vanessa Michael Munroe series and just as captivating as the first and the third book. In this book, the reader learns more about Logan's background and "Michael's" relationship to him. Taylor Stevens books are not to be missed by suspense/thriller fans and I eagerly await her 4th book in the series. ( )
  knittingmomof3 | Sep 16, 2013 |
Elbows to knees. ( )
  Mitsuho | Apr 9, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
. . . the pace has been ramped up to borderline illegal levels. . . gritty, lightning-paced and oh-so-satisfying.
added by 4leschats | editBookPage, Bruce Tierney (Jan 1, 2012)
 
Part Lisbeth Salander, part Jason Bourne, Munroe comes out swinging hard again. Hannah's story will touch readers as Stevens, herself a religious cult survivor, weaves some of her own painful childhood experiences into a gritty, suspenseful novel. Recommended for action thriller fans as well as for readers interested in kidnapping and cult stories.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Susan O. Moritz (Oct 15, 2011)
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307717127, Hardcover)

With The Innocent, Taylor Stevens, the bestselling author of The Informationist, returns with another blockbuster thriller featuring the fearless Vanessa Michael Munroe.
 
Eight years ago, a man walked five-year-old Hannah out the front doors of her school and spirited her over the Mexican border, taking her into the world of a cult known as The Chosen. For eight years, followers of The Prophet have hidden the child, moving her from country to country, shielding the man who stole her. Now, those who’ve searched the longest know where to find her. They are childhood survivors of The Chosen, thirty-somethings born and raised inside the cult who’ve managed to make lives for themselves on the outside. They understand the mindset, the culture within that world, and turn to Vanessa Michael Munroe for help, knowing that the only possibility of stealing Hannah back and getting her safely out of Argentina is to trust someone who doesn’t trust them, and get Munroe on the inside.
 
Tautly written, brilliantly paced, and with the same evocation of the exotic combined with chilling violence that made The Informationist such a success, The Innocent confirms Taylor Stevens’ reputation as a thriller writer of the first rank.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:40 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Eight years ago, a man walked five-year-old Hannah out the front doors of her school and spirited her over the Mexican border, taking her into the world of a cult known as The Chosen. For eight years, followers of The Prophet have hidden the child, moving her from country to country, shielding the man who stole her. Now, those who've searched the longest know where to find her. They are childhood survivors of The Chosen, thirty-somethings born and raised inside the cult who've managed to make a life for themselves on the outside. They understand the mindset, the culture within that world, and turn to Vanessa Michael Munroe for help, knowing that the only possibility of stealing Hannah back and getting her safely out of Argentina is to trust someone who doesn't trust them, and get Munroe on the inside. Tautly written, brilliantly paced, and with the same evocation of the exotic combined with chilling violence that made The Informationist such a success, The Innocent confirms Taylor Stevens' reputation as a thriller writer of the first rank"--… (more)

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