Review: The Innocent by Taylor Stevens


Title: The Innocent {Vanessa Michael Munroe #2}

Author: Taylor Stevens

Published: Bantam February 2012

Synopsis: 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. Now, after years of searching, survivors of the group have found the girl in Argentina. But getting her out is a whole new challenge. For the rescue, they will need someone who is brilliant, fearless and utterly ruthless – Vanessa Munroe. But the only way to get Hannah out is for Monroe to go in.

Status: Read from June 21 to 22, 2012 — I own a copy {Courtesy Random House Australia}

My Thoughts:

The Informationist introduced Vanessa ‘Michael’ Munroe, a damaged heroine with a set of unique skills developed as a means of surviving her troubled childhood. While The Informationist made it on to my wishlist last year I hadn’t the opportunity to read it before this arrived for review. It’s a shame because I think that my enjoyment of this novel would have been enhanced with a fuller understanding of Munroe’s history. That being said, it matters little in terms of the story in this second installment of this new thriller series.

Fast-paced and action packed, The Innocent sees Munroe infiltrating a cult in Argentina to retrieve a thirteen year old girl at the behest of Logan, Munroe’s closest friend. In the eight years that Hannah has been held captive by ‘The Chosen’ she has been moved frequently but Logan finally has reliable information she is in Argentina and hopes Munroe can rescue her before she disappears again. The plot is fairly simple though the logistics of the mission requires a mix of complex skills including surveillance, infiltration and covert ops. There were elements of the plot I thought could have stronger, particularly the motive of The Chosen for taking Hannah and working so hard to keep her hidden. Oddly, despite the high stakes, violence and potential for problems to arise, I found the tension quite weak at times. Mainly I think because the cult posed little threat to someone with Munroe’s talent and Hannah’s rescue was rarely in doubt.

Munroe is an unusual contrast of incredible deadly skill, emotional vulnerability, a champion of the innocent as well as a borderline sociopath. During The Innocent she is plagued by nightmares, struggling with guilt and vulnerable because of the internal conflict, as well as the importance of this operation to her personally due to her relationship with Logan. This adds some risk to the case, but not quite enough for it to be a source of suspense. Still Munroe is an appealing and complex character who makes for an intriguing and original protagonist.

What I found particularly fascinating as background to this novel is Stevens personal history as a former cult member and how it informs the story of The Innocent. Stevens places her own emphasis on the cults operation and the repercussions for it’s members, both current and former. Stevens experience brings an authenticity to the storyline without the sensational tone most exploit.

The Innocent is an entertaining thriller and though it didn’t quite reach its potential for me, the series is one that holds much promise. I would like to read the first and will look for the third, titled The Doll, which puts Munroe in conflict with human traffickers and is expected to be published in 2013.

Available To Purchase

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting
    Jun 26, 2012 @ 09:44:16

    Oh, I didn’t realise that this was part of a series when I requested it. I’m not usually much of a thriller/crime reader, but I wanted to read this one for the Argentina setting! I’m glad that you generally enjoyed this one, even if it was with some reservations.



  2. 1girl2manybooks
    Jun 26, 2012 @ 11:10:30

    I think reading the first would definitely help, especially in reference with Munroe’s skills, background, how she came to be doing what she is doing, her connection with Bradford etc. But you’re right, for the purposes of this story, it doesn’t matter too much as there’s very little that carries over in terms of story. It’s just all assumed background knowledge.



  3. Judith
    Jun 26, 2012 @ 19:25:39

    I read the first in this series, and was wondering about this book. I liked, but didn’t love, The Informationist. It was a fun read and I especially liked its difference to standard mystery/thriller novels. It was quite original. Still curious about this new one…



  4. notesoflifeuk
    Jun 27, 2012 @ 06:08:26

    Great review! This sounds like my kind of series, so I’ll have to look it up. Thanks 🙂



  5. Kailana
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 04:07:10

    I have heard good things about this series but haven’t actually read it yet myself. One day!



  6. Trackback: Review: The Doll by Taylor Stevens | book'd out
  7. Trackback: Review: The Catch by Taylor Stevens | book'd out

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