The Innocent by Taylor Stevens
The Innocent. Finished 3-10-13, rating 4/5, thriller, 331 pages, pub. 2011
Book 2 of the Vanessa Michael Munroe series (The Informationist)
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.
In this second Munroe novel, she is just as brutal and lethal, but she is also more damaged and vulnerable, and that made this book better than the first for me. After some after-Africa downtime, Munroe’s best friend Logan finds her and begs her to help him find the daughter of a very good friend a fellow cult survivor. Munroe needs to work and she loves Logan so she says yes and they head to Buenos Aires and she prepares to infiltrate The Chosen, a religious cult, and get the girl out.
In my review of the first book I said that I didn’t necessarily like Munroe and certainly wouldn’t want to grab a coffee together, but this book had me liking her more. Munroe has her own history of growing up on the streets and living through torturous experiences and so her task of getting close to The Chosen and the survivors felt right. And her having Miles Bradford as her wingman for the operation was great since I already knew their history and was hoping for a little more heat. I was not disappointed.
I thought this one took a little more time to get sucked into, but it was worth it because by halfway through I didn’t want to put it down (and only did so to do laundry!). If you know about the author’s history then you know this book was close to her heart. She knows about this culture and is living proof that people do break free and thrive. Here’s a link to her website that gives you a little of her history.
Munroe is a great series heroine – there need to be more thrillers out there with kick-butt women leading the way. I do think that this should be read only after reading the first one (The Informationist). I bought this with my own money when I heard Taylor speak last year.