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Early Review Thriller: The Doll by Taylor Stevens

The Doll by Taylor Stevens (Vanessa Michael Munroe #3)

Egalley thanks to Crown Publishing

Synopsis from Goodreads
“A heroine every bit as provocative as Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander.” –The Dallas Morning News

   Haunted by a life of violence and as proficient with languages as she is with knives, Vanessa Michael Munroe, chameleon and hunter, has built her life on a reputation for getting things done—dangerous and often not-quite-legal things. Born to missionary parents in lawless Africa, taken under the tutelage of gunrunners, and tortured by one of the jungle’s most brutal men, Munroe was forced to do whatever it took to stay alive.
   The ability to survive, fight, adapt, and blend has since taken her across the globe on behalf of corporations, heads of state, and the few private clients who can afford her unique brand of expertise, and these abilities have made her enemies.
   On a busy Dallas street, Munroe is kidnapped by an unseen opponent and thrust into an underground world where women and girls are merchandise and a shadowy figure known as The Doll Maker controls her every move. While trusted friends race to unravel where she is and why she was taken, everything pivots on one simple choice: Munroe must use her unique set of skills to deliver a high-profile young woman into the same nightmare that she once endured, or condemn to torture and certain death the one person she loves above all else.
   Driven by the violence that has made her what she is, cut off from help, and with attempts to escape predicted and prevented, Munroe will hunt for openings, for solutions, and a way to strike back at a man who holds all the cards. Because only one thing is certain: she cannot save everyone.
   In this high-octane thriller for fans of Lee Child, Stieg Larsson, and Robert Ludlum's Bourne trilogy, Vanessa Michael Munroe will have to fight fast, smart and furiously to overcome a dangerous nemesis and deliver her trademark brand of justice.

Release date: June 4th 2013.

 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


* * *
 Breathtaking, gripping and keeping you on the edge of your seat, - which is what comes to mind when I think of Taylor Stevens' writing.

I've raved about The Informationist and The Innocent already, now it's time for The Doll which I enjoyed immensely. The book follows the same Vanessa Michael Munroe whose grip on sanity slips further and further away with each book.

First of all, this is a thriller like you've not read before. Vanessa is a bit like Dexter. Extreme violence, roaring darkness waiting to be let out and enormous control. Push her too far, that control slips, and you are dead.

Vanessa in The Informationist ventured to Africa to find a kidnapped girl; in The Innocent she saved a teenage daughter of a friend from a religious cult in Argentina, but in The Doll she is forced to do something she's been fighting all her life against - smuggle a kidnapped Hollywood starlet as a slave to a rich sadist from Zagreb to somewhere in Italy. 

If she does it, the girl faces abuse, torture and death; if she doesn't do it her friends and remaning family will be taken out and killed one after another. The race has already started, and only Munroe's faith into the ability of her lover to find and save her friends and family on the other side of the ocean before she delivers the girl keeps her from slipping into the abyss.

Taylor Stevens writes very dark, violent, extremely gripping books with an insane, enigmatic and immensely powerful heroine. She raises hard issues and lets Vanessa cope with them while her awful past threatens to swallow her whole. 

Even if nothing feels as powerful as the first book in the series, each of the follow ups packs a hell of a punch. Strongly recommended excellent read.

* * *
Превосходная книга, пусть и не такая сильная как первая часть серии, но всё равно превосходная.

Я уже расхваливала Информациониста и Невинную, но и  Кукла от предыдущих двух книг совсем не отстаёт. Сначала мы путешествовали с Ванессой по Африке, спасая похищенную дочь миллиардера; затем освобождали дочь её друга из религиозного культа в Аргентине...

Теперь Ванессе с её тенденцией психопата, предстоит сделать невозможный выбор - согласиться перевезти живой товар - похищенную голливудскую старлетку, к её будущему хозяину из Загреба в Италию, где её ждёт унижение, сексуальные издевательства и смерть или смотреть как один за другим умирают её немногочисленные друзья и родные от рук продавца - Кукловода.

В который раз Монро пытается перебороть ужасы её собственного прошлого, что превращают её в хладнокровного убийцу, как только кто-то нажимает на её кнопки не так; переиграть ассассина, что следует за ней по пятам и не потерять надежду на то, что её любовник в Америке успеет найти и спасти её похищенных родных и близких перед тем, как она передаст товар в руки покупателя...

Вся книга - это очень напряжённая, насыщенная адреналином, смертельная схватка со временем. Не ищете здесь счастливых концовок, - Стивенс их избегает.  Однако ей прекрасно удаётся передать удовлетворённую месть и чувство справедливости со стороны Монро, - те, кто переходят ей дорогу, в своей постели мирным сном не умирают.

Очень советую.

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