Title: The Mask
Author: Taylor Stevens
Publication Date: 30 June 2015
Vanessa Michael Munroe, chameleon and information hunter, has a reputation for getting things done: dangerous and not quite legal things that have taken her undercover into some of the world’s deadliest places. Still healing from a Somali hijacking gone wrong and a brutal attack that left her near death, Munroe joins her lover, Miles Bradford, in Japan where he’s working as a security consultant protecting high-value technology from industrial espionage. In the domesticity of their routine she finds long sought-after peace—until Bradford is arrested for murder, and the same interests who targeted him come after her, too.
Searching for answers and fighting to stay alive, Munroe will soon discover how far she’ll go to save Bradford from spending the next twenty years in locked-up isolation; how many laws she’ll break when the truth seems worse than his lies; and who to trust and who she must kill. Because she’s a strategist and hunter with a predator’s instincts, and the man she loves has just stabbed her in the back.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s right up there behind The Doll as one of my favourite books by Taylor Stevens. In my opinion, one of the best things about Stevens’ writing is how she is able to not just use a new and interesting setting in every book but also how she is able to inform and educate me about the customs and intricacies of the regions. That is what I liked the most about this book. Not only was it a great story but I feel I learned about Japan at the same time which is something I don’t think other authors really do as much.
The Mask is the fifth novel in Taylor Steven’s series about information hunter and problem solver Vanessa Michael Munroe. The story begins with Munroe joining her boyfriend Miles Bradford in Japan where he has being hired to find out who has being stealing secrets from a bio-lab. When Bradford is framed for murder while on the job, Munroe takes over to find the real culprit and get Bradford out of jail.
Munroe has to be one of the most interesting characters in the genre because she is so unique. There is really no one else like her in the genre. Her ability to seamlessly transition from being a female to projecting herself as a male is quite innovative and really makes for some interesting stories. Also, I feel it’s pretty impressive that Stevens has created such a likeable character despite the fact that she is a bit of a psychopath.
The Mask contains pretty much everything you’d expect from a Taylor Stevens’ novel. It has an interesting plot, it has some pretty vivid fight scenes, it has twists and turns and it has that weird relationship between Munroe and Bradford. But most of all it has Munroe outsmarting and beating up everyone else around her, which are my personal favourite parts of Taylor Stevens’ work.
I would have liked to see a bit more of Bradford throughout the book though. I understand that he couldn’t really be used in this book because the whole plot revolves around him being held in jail but I really like the character and he’s just been a bystander in the last two novels now. Hopefully we see Bradford back in action in the next book in the series.
The only downside is that now I have finished The Mask and fully caught up on Stevens’ amazing Vanessa Michael Munroe series, I have ahead of me the dreaded long wait until the next book comes out. Hopefully we see the next book in the series out later this year.
Worth a read? If you’re familiar with Taylor Stevens’ work then you already know that The Mask is worth a read. If you’re not, then you’re missing out on an interesting mystery with a kick-ass, innovative female lead character and some crazy violent fight scenes. Definitely worth a read.