My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Reviewed for Amazon Vine
I’ve been a Taylor Stevens fan since reading, “The Doll” (see review here). She has an authentic, unique voice that’s like no one else I read. It’s almost stream of consciousness, but not in the James Joyce way. It’s her mind’s eye noticing, cataloging, making decisions about the world around her, sharing what her detail-oriented brain notices with readers. Me, I love that.
It’s no surprise her writing style is unlike any other; so was her upbringing. Read her bio–it’s stunning. She uses long–very long–sentences, typically avoided by writers:
“His shoulders shook with silent laughter, an answer that said he wasn’t afraid of the knife, that he was equally armed and she was out-numbered, said that what he did tonight would guarantee money to put him into another drug stupor and that any thought beyond that became meaningless.”
“Munroe called the hawaladar along the way, confirmed their progress and updated him with details that Khalid would already have told him, and they rode the long journey into the city for the airport, an inconvenient trip that detoured them back onto the island, then south again toward the airport and the complex of stone and concrete walls and metal roofs that warehoused airfreight through the customs-clearing process.”
It’s an active writing style, often starting sentences with verbs, which makes everything speed up as she gets to the crises scenes.
‘The Catch’ (Crown Publishers 2014) is her best yet. Each book, she does a better job of fulfilling all the storytelling features that make a novel unputdownable (I made that word up–one of the 93 this hour added to the lexicon). This one, characters, plot, pacing, story arc–all are delivered like a seasoned novelist though this is only her fourth. The heroine, Vanessa Michael Munroe, is trying to fade into the background of life, hide her prodigious talents and the raw fury that makes her such a deadly weapon in the right (or wrong) hands. As usual, her inner core forces her to make the moral decision when a ship she’s working on is hijacked–which is the wrong decision for her personal safety. The story takes off from there. It is this that Vanessa Michael Munroe fans read the series for–how Michael acts under stress , during a crises, how she thinks, prepares, connects the dots, solves problems.
Michael (the main character) has many unusual characteristics, not the least of which is her androgynous appearance. She can convincingly be male or female with that body, depending upon how she decorates herself and the personality she displays.
Before you leave, read these two great lines:
“…watching as two of the Somali men paddled the pirogue out to the dhow, placed a fuel barrel within straps to be raised onto the vessel, and then paddled back for another turn loading: one slow trip at a time; the way of a continent where time and manual labor were the cheapest commodities of all.”
“…always choosing the hard way [Munroe] because pain was comfortable and familiar, and in emptiness there was never a risk of loss because she had nothing to lose.”
Who could NOT read this book?
More book reviews with anomalous main characters:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she is editor of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.