09 August 2015
Taylor Stevens: The Mask - A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel #5
Taylor Stevens has scored again by bringing back Vanessa "Michael" Munroe, one of the most complex, violent but compelling characters in modern adrenaline-filled action packed adventure fiction, in a similar role to her outstanding debut novel "The Informationist". Michael is tall and slim and can become androgynous, changing her sex to survive in different environments, especially where females are treated as second class citizens.
"Michael" has taken time healing from a Somali hijacking and an attack that left her struggling for her life. She rejoins her lover Miles Bradford in Japan where he is working as a security consultant for a hi-tech firm trying to find the source of industrial espionage leaks. For a time Michael finds peace in their relationship but is soon anxious to get back into action.
Before that happens Miles is arrested for the murder of an employee of the firm using his readily identifiable Texan belt. This is clearly the action of the person responsible for the leaks but he cannot combat the accusations because he is faced with the almost impenetrable Japanese homicide police system which almost guarantees conviction and a harsh prison sentence. Fortunately Miles has sub-contracted Michael (in her male guise) to take over his work which allows her access to the facility. Another foreigner is not welcomed by most of the staff and superiors and this, combined with the Japanese social and business environment, makes it very difficult to track down the killer.
"Michael" sets about finding the killer through intense research and checking things that may have been overlooked (the Informationist role). Along the way she meets up violently with many who want to prevent her finding the truth and displays the survival skills that have kept her alive so many times. She also does battle with a very different cultural background of Japanese life where things are never what they seem to be on the surface.
Well done Taylor Stevens, you have succeeded in giving us another unique adrenaline filled episode in the life of Michael Munroe - one of my favourite fictional female "kick ass" characters in modern thrillers. While this book can be read as a standalone I would strongly recommend visiting "The Informationist" first to get more information about the complex and violent leading character. If you do this I am sure that you will end up reading the other 4 books in the series.