Review: “The Catch,” Taylor Stevens

Pros: Love watching Michael’s schemes take shape
Cons: Slow through one part
Rating: 4 out of 5

Vanessa Michael Munroe looks very androgynous, and she takes great advantage of that. She can be male or female depending on the temporary needs of whatever job she’s working. Normally she goes to strange and exotic places to collect information for companies looking to do business there–but almost nothing is that simple. In this case, as ‘Michael’ she’s been doing what for her would be considered a vacation–working in an African country with a handful of mercenaries. Unfortunately that group takes on an unusually dangerous assignment, on a ship that gets hijacked. Michael gets out alive, but personal attachments and obligations pull her back in. It’s obvious that this is not a ‘normal’ hijacking, so she has to dive deep and take a lot of chances in order to figure out what’s going on and how to save anyone on the ship who’s still alive.

 

Taylor Stevens’s The Catch: A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel centers around ‘Michael’, a fascinating character. I’ve now read the first book in the series (The Informationist), although I started with a later volume: The Mask. The books stand pretty well on their own, which is extremely helpful. That way you can grab the one you happen to find first and see what you think of the series before laying out for the whole thing. As for me, I plan to go back and gradually read the whole series because I just love it.

Michael has an unusual ability: she can pick up languages over surprisingly short periods of time, and she’s very good at assimilating herself into a variety of cultures. I love how this shapes the plots and her own machinations. She walks a razor’s edge as she sets up deal after deal in order to accomplish her goal: which, in this case, is to rescue some of the crew of a boat that’s been hijacked. In this book we see how she deals with injury, as well as the death of a person whom she sees as ‘hers’. I love living in her head–it’s a fascinating place to be.

The Catch has plenty of tension, suspense, and heart-stopping moments. My only negative in this one is that the back-and-forth between Michael and a person she’s trying to get information out of goes on for long enough to be repetitive and boring. I realize it’s probably more realistic that way, but it does derail the pacing of the book for a bit.

There’s blood and violence, and when Michael’s temper is pushed too far she can quite easily start killing–although she tries to keep that side of herself bottled up.

I heartily recommend not just The Catch, but also the series as a whole.

 

NOTE: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

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