The Informationist

Crazy good escapism from this thriller, the first of Taylor Stevens books, a stunning debut novel. The gender-bending heroine is the daughter of a missionary, born in Africa, who excels at languages and consults with governments, corporations, individuals to obtain whatever information they need. With this case, her talents are being used to locate a missing woman, Emily, whose stepfather is still attempting to find her after 4 years disappearance in Africa. Naturally, there’s tons of money tied up in the affair, he really wants Emily dead so he can take over her trust (her mother died under possibly suspicious circumstances). Michael/Vanessa/Essa is the hired gun who morphs into any situation to obtain information, wielding killer knife skills she learned from daily torture and rape while a teenager. Her rage makes for an extremely satisfying read.

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Updated to say that after reading a bit about Ms Stevens, her own story (born into a religious cult, not exposed to books until she and her husband left the cult) is stunning as well…