The Mask. Finished 7-2-15, 4/5stars, thriller, 352 pages, pub. 2015
Vanessa Michael Munroe, chameleon and information hunter, has a reputation for getting things done: dangerous and not quite legal things that have taken her undercover into some of the world’s deadliest places. Still healing from a Somali hijacking gone wrong and a brutal attack that left her near death, Munroe joins her lover, Miles Bradford, in Japan where he’s working as a security consultant protecting high-value technology from industrial espionage. In the domesticity of their routine she finds long sought-after peace—until Bradford is arrested for murder, and the same interests who targeted him come after her, too.
Searching for answers and fighting to stay alive, Munroe will soon discover how far she’ll go to save Bradford from spending the next twenty years in locked-up isolation; how many laws she’ll break when the truth seems worse than his lies; and who to trust and who she must kill. Because she’s a strategist and hunter with a predator’s instincts, and the man she loves has just stabbed her in the back.
I have been a fan of Michael’s since her first book and suggest that you start there or maybe the second if you are a newbie to the series. I know these books can be read as standalones but I really don’t think you’d get Michael without the other books. This latest entry to the series was a lot different from the others, in a way that I can appreciate as a fan, but if I had only read this one I’m not sure if I would have been as invested.
Michael is still recovering emotionally from her last job in Africa and she takes the peace that living with Miles, a man who loves her and her complicated ways, offers her. She relocates to Japan and sits idle while he works. This is a recipe for unhappiness for the fiery and capable Michael, normally the one who gets paid handsomely to acquire information. She is in the passenger seat and only when the wheels come off and land Miles in a Japanese prison is she able to get back to what makes her tick, her work.
I loved learning about the Japanese culture, the work culture especially since the corporate world is where most of the story took place. For me, this was the best part of the book. Actually, it’s always one of my favorite parts of each of the books in the series. Stevens, who grew up travelling around the world in a cult, knows how to really immerse the reader in a foreign place. I loved learning more about what life looks like in Japan.
Michael was healing and there was enough kick-assery to show her core strength but not as much as we’ve seen in previous novels. I liked this as a part of the series, almost like Michael’s pause for healing, and am looking forward to more of her story and Miles too since he is one awesome dude to love a woman as tough as Michael.
This book was sent to me by the publisher.