The Informationist

This is a great book. It pulls you in right from the beginning with a flight through the jungle and just keeps going.

The Informationist is a story about an androgynous woman named Vanessa Michael Monroe. She has a mysterious past even though she will admit to being the child of missionaries in Cameroon, where she was born. Monroe (who goes by the name Michael) deals in information. For the right price she will secure any information you require.

She is hired to find Emily Burbank who disappeared in Africa while travelling with 2 men she met on a safari. Emily's mother has died and Emily stands to inherit money if she can be found. Her stepfather, Richard Burbank, is a billionaire oil man and he is financing the search. Previous searches have shown that Emily is most likely dead. Burbank forces Michael to work with Miles Bradford, an ex-special forces member who works for Burbank. Michael and Bradford do not get along especially after it becomes clear that a third party is tracking them and sabotaging the search.

Michael's past is slowly revealed throughout the story in short vignettes. And her past includes some very un-missionary like events. Including the murder of Peter, a man who not only taught her all her martial arts skills but tormented her until his death. Michael has an interesting assortment of people she has befriended throughout her previous jobs. These people are called upon to help her find Emily.

The comparisons to Lisbeth Salander from the Larsson trilogy will be inevitable. Michael is a strong woman with a mysterious past, she possesses skills that allow her to succeed and she has an assortment of people she can count on for help. This is a great story and is well written with just the right amount of twists and surprises. The pacing is fast and it pulls the reader along through the story. But, the characters develop slowly. I read this book in a weekend. I could not put it down.

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