The Innocent by Taylor Stevens, Crown Publishers, December 2011
...all in all this sequel is not as good as the first book in the series.
Taylor Stevens is back with a second novel featuring Vanessa Michael Munroe as the central character. The story centers on the recovery of a child (Hannah) from a cult (The Chosen). The child was kidnapped from her mother five years before and has now been located in a cult location in Argentina. The child is the daughter of Munroe’s long time friend Logan. Working with Logan and other survivors who have left The Chosen, Munroe hatches the plan to free this child from the cult. Along the way it becomes apparent that the Chosen are also engaged in child sex rings. The action move right along as Munroe inserts herself into the cult family and tries to free Hannah. There are a couple of minor plots that are interspersed throughout the book that also add to the suspense of the story.
Munroe is a flawed heroine at best. Her troubled life has produced a psyche that is deeply damaged. In the first book – The Informationist – Munroe had some violent tendencies that were merely worrying, in this story she has completely broken down and commits some horrifically violent acts while sleep walking (yes, I am not kidding). The author continues to liken Munroe to Lisabeth Salander (Dragoon Tattoo) but these stories are just not that good. They lack the sense of place that comes with the Swedish stories. The heroine lacks the vulnerability present in Salander’s character and the violence seems to me over the top and presented to shock rather than advance the story. The plot is well formed and entertaining but I found the characterizations wanting. All in all this sequel is not as good as the first book in the series.
I read a copy of this book provided by the publisher.