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Extended Audio Sample The Informationist: A Thriller Audiobook, by Taylor Stevens Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,973 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Taylor Stevens Narrator: Hillary Huber Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Vanessa Michael Munroe Novels Release Date: March 2011 ISBN: 9780307878250
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Vanessa “Michael” Munroe deals in information, expensive information, working for corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. Born to missionary parents in lawless central Africa, Munroe took up with an infamous gunrunner and his mercenary crew when she was just fourteen. As his protégé, she earned the respect of the jungle’s most dangerous men, cultivating her own reputation for years until something sent her running. After almost a decade building a new life and lucrative career from her home base in Dallas, she’s never looked back. Until now.

A Texas oil billionaire has hired her to find his daughter who vanished in Africa four years ago. It’s not her usual line of work, but she can’t resist the challenge. Pulled deep into the mystery of the missing girl, Munroe finds herself back in the lands of her childhood, betrayed, cut off from civilization, and left for dead. If she has any hope of escaping the jungle and the demons that drive her, she must come face-to-face with the past that she’s tried for so long to forget.

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Quotes & Awards

  • An irresistible, gorgeously written thriller....impossible-to-put-down....Hollywood, let the casting wars begin. The Dallas Morning News
  • Extraordinary….No one has written a more exhilarating, adroit, and stylish debut for a suspense series since Raymond Chandler introduced Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep back in 1939. TheDailyBeast.com
  • A globe-trotting thriller. . . . The Informationist is an accessible, crisply told tale. NYTimes.com
  • One can't help but think that Munroe and Salander are lone wolves who, if they ever had a chance to meet, might discover they are really part of the same hunting pack...Stevens...writes with the confidence of one who knows she's hit on a winning series character who has the world at her beck and call. Los Angeles Times
  • The Informationist is a remarkable thriller; intense and heartbreaking, with a chilling, killer climax. Associated Press
  • "In the wake of the stunning success of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo comes a thriller by an American writer whose protagonist is drawing comparisons to Lisbeth Salander. The good news: Vanessa Munroe, the woman at the center of The Informationist, Taylor Stevens' debut novel, lives up to the hype. Best of all, Munroe evokes the spirit and intelligence of the gutsy, damaged Salander, but she's far from derivative...Much will be made of the similarities between Munroe and Salander. But in some ways, Munroe's brooding personality and her ability to blend in to her surroundings bring to mind the provocative Jason Bourne. Thank goodness a sequel to this fiery novel is in the works. USA Today
  • Vanessa Munroe is the book world’s newest tough-girl action hero. New York Post

    "A Dazzling new thriller...The Informationist is Steven's first novel but it reads as if she's already a master of the genre.
  • Stevens' debut novel, The Informationist [is] an international thriller featuring a most unusual hero. Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • The star of this novel- an androgynous espionage agent named Vanessa Munroe- boasts a mysterious past and impressive survival skills. Entertainment Weekly 
  • Taylor Stevens in her first novel has achieved the gripping story telling technique of many acclaimed authors. Paramus Post
  • The Informationist pushes every one of my buttons: exotic locale, sassy and competent protagonist, crisp dialogue and nonstop action. A fine debut—can’t wait for the sequel! Book Page, Bruce Tierney
  • Stevens’ debut novel is as compelling as her actual back story. Like Vanessa Munroe, a heroine haunted by her hijacked childhood, Stevens was raised all over the world in a religious cult. But the similarity ends there in this breathless, international thrill ride as Vanessa lies, kills and uses her incredible gift for getting what she wants. But underneath all the action is an even more powerful story of a woman trying to make peace with her personal demons. Family Circle, Darcy Jacobs
  • Stevens’s blazingly brilliant debut introduces a great new action heroine, Vanessa Michael Munroe, who doesn’t have to kick over a hornet’s nest to get attention, though her feral, take-no-prisoners attitude reflects the fire of Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander…. Thriller fans will eagerly await the sequel to this high-octane page-turner. Publishers Weekly (Starred, boxed review)
  • Stevens has penned a fast-paced, gripping, edgy mystery with a heroine whom even Lisbeth Salander would admire. Library Journal (Starred)
  • Dazzling…Munroe is a model of an emerging action heroine: like Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander, not a guy in a girl suit but not one to whimper in the corner, either. Booklist
     
  • A riveting procedural, and a multi-dimensional thriller, with a heroine that hooks you from her first appearance. OpenLetters.com
  • An utterly smashing debut, starring an unforgettable heroine who could go toe to toe with Lisbeth Salander—and claw her way on top. One of the best thrillers of the year! Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of ICE COLD
  • With its break-neck pacing set against the simmering violence of Central Africa, THE INFORMATIONIST is a thriller of the highest caliber. Michael Munroe is a heroine you’ve never seen before—a shape-shifter who’s sharp, fast, and deadly, but still vulnerable to her own demons. Powered by intricate plotting that leads to a climax on a grand scale, this novel announces Taylor Stevens as a writer to watch. Colin Harrison  
  • A turbo-charged debut with a protagonist as deadly as she is irresistible. With THE INFORMATIONIST Taylor Stevens has crafted a thriller that’s smart, sexy, fast-paced—and impossible to put down. Vince Flynn
  • A terrific thriller with piercing tension, chest-tightening adventure, and a one-of-a-kind heroine I’ve continued to think about long after finishing the last page.  Taylor Stevens is a born storyteller. I couldn’t put THE INFORMATIONIST down. Michael Palmer, author of The Last Surgeon
  • Stevens debuts with a tightly written thriller woven around an uncommon heroine with a knack for putting facts together and coming up with the right answers...the writing is stellar, the heroine grittier than Lara Croft and the African setting so vivid that readers can smell the jungle and feel the heat—a gifted debut with much promise. Kirkus



  • “Thriller fans will eagerly await the sequel to this high-octane page-turner.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

  • “Dazzling.”

    Booklist

  • “A dazzling new thriller…The Informationist is Stevens’ first novel, but it reads as if she’s already a master of the genre.”

    New York Daily News

  • The Informationist is a remarkable thriller; intense and heartbreaking, with a chilling, killer climax.”

    Associated Press

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2012 Macavity Award Nominee for Best First Mystery Novel
  • A 2012 Anthony Award Nominee for Best First Novel
  • Winner of the 2012 Barry Award for Best First Novel
  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sandi | 2/15/2014

    " Not a bad globe trotting, super heroine type thriller when the narrative focused on the current day plot (though the twists and turns were pretty predictable) but really bogged down with all the lead character's tortured past sections. This is another Anthony Award nominee for best first novel and I listened to the audio version read by Hilary Huber who was fine. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pamela Howard | 2/5/2014

    " Excellent, I would highly recommend reading it. I liked Michael a lot and look forward to reading more !! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alyson | 2/2/2014

    " This was just up and down for me. It grabbed me at first, but then I got bogged down. I just did not buy the main character's background. All the comparisons to Lisbeth Salander just made it worse for me. Got caught back up in the story but then felt like the book had a weak ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark Vedel | 1/30/2014

    " Good story but a bit long. I am glad I did the book on Audible and listened to it. I would not have liked actually reading it. Way to much narrative that distracted from the story. All in all a good listen though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne-Marie | 1/22/2014

    " Glad I didn't start with a sample. Almost didn't get through the first few pages then raced through to the end, motivated by plot more than character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerry | 1/16/2014

    " This book did not disappoint me. I'm already looking forward to the next one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deb | 1/12/2014

    " Loved the book and the character of Vanessa Michael Munroe. This was a good, compelling story that wasn't all blood and guts, wasn't all sex and wasn't all supernatural. Loved the realism and the spunk! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jaci | 1/7/2014

    " Vanessa Michael Monroe is a great character. The language facility hooked me and her information seeking was great (would have like to see more of how she conducted her searches) although several scenes were over the top. Waiting for the sequel, of course. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | Book Den | 12/24/2013

    " A great thriller with a badass female lead. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 12/7/2013

    " [audiobook] Interesting characters and a good story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane | 12/5/2013

    " Absolutely loved this book. So different. Can't wait until she writes another. Would love to know if story line reflects the author's life in any way. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erica | 11/20/2013

    " An Angelina Jolie movie in book form. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monica | 10/27/2013

    " Very good escapist thriller, takes place largely in Africa. Vanessa Michael Munroe is somewhat reminiscent of Salander. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gally | 10/21/2013

    " [My favorite The Informationist quotes] "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aubree | 10/19/2013

    " Great first novel by Taylor Stevens. I'm always a fan of a strong female lead and she delivers her well. Completely believable. I also love that most of the book takes place in Africa. Suspenseful and exciting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 LisaSunshineGirl | 10/12/2013

    " Vanessa "Michael" Munroe deals in information - expensive information - working for corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mpharris1 | 10/8/2012

    " This was a very poor man's version of The Girl who Played with Fire. Not much to say except suggest that you take a pass on this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane Yannick | 9/24/2012

    " I especially enjoyed Vanessa's character. Overall the book was interesting. I was a little let down at the end and I'm trying to figure out why. I think it was thatthe ending tried to tie up too many loose ends too quickly. Still not sure about that. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Johnnie Gee | 4/11/2012

    " Good book - don't want to mess with this girl - waiting for new book "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sara | 1/9/2012

    " A suspenseful book with a female protagonist hired to find a young woman missing in Africa for 4 years--way too violent but interesting enough due to the setting to finish while skimming over the violent passages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paula | 12/13/2011

    " Really enjoyed this book (despite a bit too much graphic violence for me). Great plot, interesting and unique characters, fast-paced and gripping. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carol Palmer | 9/8/2011

    " Just a sheer thriller....page turner in the way of the Steig novels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa Hayes | 6/11/2011

    " This one was great. Action and mystery! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/24/2011

    " An enjoyable, fast-paced thriller. The heroine has been compared to Lisbeth Salander of Dragon Tattoo fame, and I can understand the reason for the comparison. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Candice | 5/22/2011

    " Actually liked this a bit more than dragon tattoo series. Easier to get into. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike | 5/22/2011

    " Wow, what a remarkable debut. Stevens is one to watch. A little boring in the middle. Really is a thriller. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Terri | 5/20/2011

    " I don't know maybe I'm jaded or maybe too many blurbs say this book is the next Stieg Larsson book, but since I was expecting the next Salander character Munroe just didn't make the cut. While the book was interesting, it was no page turner. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 5/19/2011

    " This is a must read book! The book had a lot of action and was very hard to put down once I started reading. I am looking forward to reading her next book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan | 5/18/2011

    " Fast-paced mystery/suspense. I enjoyed it, but be warned - there is a lot of violence and bad language. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meg | 5/17/2011

    " Great! Fast moving, kept me up later than I wanted to be to read it for several nights! I can't wait to see what else she comes up with! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 5/14/2011

    " Suspenseful, with the backdrop of Africa in all its unpredictable instability. While the main character, Michael/Vanessa is pretty unbelievable, it's fun to be part of her kickass entourage. Not a pretty story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 5/14/2011

    " I especially enjoyed Vanessa's character. Overall the book was interesting. I was a little let down at the end and I'm trying to figure out why. I think it was thatthe ending tried to tie up too many loose ends too quickly. Still not sure about that. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 5/14/2011

    " Stevens' protagonist reminds me of Salander and Everdeen, strong woman with a gift for thoughtful strategy. Satisfying right through to the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patti | 5/14/2011

    " not bad ... not as good as the dragon tattoo series though "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Taneshan | 5/13/2011

    " Definitely not as good as I'd hoped..it slowed down about 2/3 of the way in, and the end was rushed/too neat-and-tidy a finish. And I didn't get the love interest part....she didn't even seem to like him outside of the bedroom! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joanna | 5/11/2011

    " I loved this book. Great, intersting protagnist. Great settings in Africa. Intriguing plot. I look forward to learning more about the author and reading her next book. "

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About the Author
Author Taylor StevensTAYLOR STEVENS is the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of The Informationist, The Innocent, The Doll, and The Catch. Featuring Vanessa Michael Munroe, the series has received critical acclaim and the books are published in twenty languages. The Informationist has been optioned for film by James Cameron's production company, Lightstorm Entertainment. Born in New York State, and into the Children of God, raised in communes across the globe and denied an education beyond sixth grade, Stevens was in her twenties when she broke free to follow hope and a vague idea of what possibilities lay beyond. She now lives in Texas, and is at work on the next Munroe novel.
About the Narrator

Hillary Huber, a Los Angeles–based voice talent with hundreds of commercials and promos under her belt, was bitten by the audiobook bug in 2005. She now records books on a regular basis and has been nominated for several Audie Awards. Her recordings for Blackstone include Skinny Bastard, The Art of Social War, and The Cheater.