Monday, June 3, 2013

The Doll, Taylor Stevens' Latest "Vanessa Michael Munroe" Novel Out Tomorrow! Get It!
"...Munroe stepped into the room, the door shut behind her, and she stopped.
"Filling the room, floor to ceiling, on shelves on credenzas, were porcelain dools: small and life-size, hand-painted and air-brushed, richly clothed with waxen hair, curled and styled. They stared out at er--more lifeless eyes than she could count--each doll in perfect condition: items a collector had dotes on and cared for, with not a speck of dust to tarnish them...
"He sat behind the desk, hands folded upon it, head haloed by the morning light that left his face in shadow. Munroe nodded an acknowledgment. He nodded back, and if she guessed correctly, he was smiling...
"The Doll Man stood and walked to the shelf on her left; starting near the window, with hands behind his back like a general surveying troops on parade, he worked his way along the wall, pausing to admire and occasionally reach out and touch a lock of hair or rearrange a dress...
"Perfection," he said, his fingers to lace, his voice soft and full of admiration. "They have no flaws, only beauty." He paused and, still gazing at the dolls, whispered, "Only beauty."
"The man turned toward Munroe and his voice returned to room volume. "I have others," he said, "but these are my treasures. I keep them close; they bring me joy." He stopped to stroke a porcelain cheek and then with a sign walked back to the desk and returned to his chair..."

The Doll
By Taylor Stevens

A kick-ass female Lead, action from the first to last page, a series, on a relevant topic, and working with a male love interest are the five things that immediately influence me that a new favorite author has been found! This is only my first reading for Taylor Stevens but certainly won't be my last! I've already checked that there are two novels before The Doll so I'll have to pick them up sometime before her next novel...

Having the villain one who quickly prompts hate is also a fun addition for me--I so love to hate villains, especially those that remind me of some of my ex-bosses...LOL...

Michael Munroe had been kidnapped by a man she called the Doll Man. Rightly so, he not only collected porcelain dolls, but he transformed humans into doll-look-alikes, if requested...and sold them... Of course, he was a human trafficker, but he also provided for special requests...when the customer had sufficient funds!

"Zagreb, Croatic
"The only source of light was a sliver beneath the
door, but that was enough to make the headache
worse. Vanessa Michael Munroe shut her eyes against
the pounding beat and returned to darkness, to the
words and sounds that echoed along the walls.
"Not real speech, a recording. She could tell that
even from the drug-induced haze. She stretched
fingertips to the wall and heard from touch the same
story told by the smell of this place. Dank. Damp.
"Her leg was stiff and tender, her shoulder badly
bruised. mental nudges took her toward the last
that she remembered...
"Beyond the door came footsteps. Voices, real voices--
occasionally screaming--while the steady pattern of
language played on and on, masking and muting the
sounds of the world beyond the walls and providing
a strange sense of continuity in this dungeon of a
"Let her sleep some more," he'd said. "She's not
"Her eyes snapped open to blackness, her mind
fully awake..."
And this time, the customer had requested an up-and-coming movie star! She had already been taken and, in fact, Michael had just signed a contract with the security agency for whom she sometimes worked, to find this girl.

Monroe had been brought in as well, for payback, since she had been responsible for the Doll Maker's American facilitator being jailed.

Besides, this female was giving the men a hard time and had been chained to keep her from attacking...and the customer had demanded his "doll" be perfect! She had also been acting under a different name and now it was known that she was the daughter of influential people and a world-wide hunt was out!

In order to ensure his staff and captives always did what he wanted, the Doll Maker made sure he had a backup plan. In this case, he had also kidnapped a man, who was like a brother to Munroe and was slowly torturing him, sending pictures of that torture.

If Munroe refused to do as he asked, her friend Logan would be killed. Given that Michael had already contracted to try to save the girl, it was especially hard for her to think through what to do.

But she had been successful in getting a message to the security agency. So in America they had already started the search for finding and freeing Logan!

She had no choice, she would have to deliver the "package" as required...

The novel shifts back and forth to America as the agency tries to capture those involved. But Michael is on her own in taking the package to its customer. But as they travel, Neeva and Michael begin to exchange a little about their personal lives and that led to some negotiation...

Michael played every angle she could in moving forward, including trying to connect with the Doll Maker's nephew, who was also under his uncle's requirements for perfection...Especially when the Doll Maker's motto was, "the price of failure is yours..."

Logan was saved, only to have another loved one of Michael's kidnapped! It is clear that Stevens is extremely successful in portraying the reprehensible characters of those individuals who participate in human trafficking and laughingly pointing out that it is much easier and cheaper than dealing drugs. Yet, of the two evils, the U.S. leaders put more money into drug enforcement than in human trafficking...???

"What the hell is it with your
need for revenge? How can seeing
him dead possibly mean that much
to you?...
"You're missing the point," Neeva said.
"You--with your scars and your killings
should know better than anyone, and
instead you're playing like you're
dumb or something. You know
exactly what I want, and exactly
"I've never wanted anything so badly
as I want to finally be able to do
something to someone who's hurt

Let me repeat that - the U.S. spends more money on drug enforcement than on

human trafficking; i.e., kidnapping of children and, mostly, women, to be sold to men...


Sure you all know that I like action thrillers...But, I want you to consider this a must-read, not because it is an excellent, well-written novel, but because Taylor Stevens created her characters so realistically that you know that her kick-ass female got that way because of the abuse she endured!

Just as you know that the villains in this book, except a few, were enjoying every part of the sickness that is permeating this world... Women become villains mostly ecause of the money...Men for so much more evil a reason!

The ending of this book was fascinating for me as opposed to be surprising! It was absolutely perfect for the book's theme. Many kudos to Taylor Stevens for writing one of the best I've read yet on human trafficking and the people in those roles! Read Stevens' background below... Read this book!


Taylor Stevens--Photo Credit:  Alyssa Skyes
The Third Person Punchy Version:
TAYLOR STEVENS is the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of The Informationist, The Innocentand The Doll. Featuring Vanessa Michael Munroe, the series has received critical acclaim and the books are published in twenty languages. The Informationist has been optioned for film by James Cameron's production company, Lightstorm Entertainment. Born in New York State, and into the Children of God, raised in communes across the globe and denied an education beyond sixth grade, Stevens was in her twenties when she broke free to follow hope and a vague idea of what possibilities lay beyond. She now lives in Texas, and is at work on a fourth Munroe novel.

The First Person Wordy Version:
In an alternate universe, I spent my formative years living with parents and siblings, showing up for school and getting acquainted with HBO, Michael Jackson, neon clothes and big hair. In reality, childhood and adolescence were spent begging on city streets from Zurich to Tokyo, preparing food and washing laundry for hundreds of people, and otherwise trying to survive dreary life as a worker bee child in a communal apocalyptic cult. My innocence and scholastic education stopped completely when I was twelve-years-old.
Cut off from personal family, at times under the care of sadistic individuals and without access to books or television from the outside world, imagination became a survival mechanism. As a young teenager, I secretly entertained commune children with fantastic stories that took us through time and space, until these sins were discovered by cult leaders. Several laboriously hand-written books were confiscated and burned and I was ordered on pain of--well, a whole lot of pain--never to write fiction again.
The nomadic culture of the cult became an adolescent's journey across four continents and nearly two dozen countries culminating in four years living in East and West-Central Africa--this the primary setting for THE INFORMATIONIST.
Along this journey I have seen the best and worst of humanity and don't have to look far to find the depth of soul and tormented conflict that drives my characters; I pull heavily from personal experience and the experience of the ones I love when creating the worlds they walk in.
I was in my twenties when I broke free, and leaving everything I knew brought with the fear, a fresh beginning. Refusing to go to my grave with regrets, "what ifs," or tears over the lost years, I set out to take back what was taken from me. Through trial and error and observing the masters I taught myself the craft, and gradually the gift of storytelling returned. Learning basics that many take for granted has been a journey to be sure, but on the flip side, if I ever need to make breakfast for 150 people, I've already got that covered.

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