Eight years ago, a man walked five-year-old Hannah out the front doors of her school and spirited her over the Mexican border, taking her into the world of a cult known as The Chosen. For eight years, followers of The Prophet have hidden the child, moving her from country to country, shielding the man who stole her. Now, those who’ve searched the longest know where to find her. They are childhood survivors of The Chosen, thirty-somethings born and raised inside the cult who’ve managed to make lives for themselves on the outside. They understand the mindset, the culture within that world, and turn to Vanessa Michael Munroe for help, knowing that the only possibility of stealing Hannah back and getting her safely out of Argentina is to trust someone who doesn’t trust them, and get Munroe on the inside.
Tautly written, brilliantly paced, and with the same evocation of the exotic combined with chilling violence that made The Informationist such a success, The Innocent confirms Taylor Stevens’ reputation as a thriller writer of the first rank.”
The above is from the product page on Amazon. THE INNOCENT was a book offered to participants in the Amazon Vine program and after reading the description, I ordered the book. I have had the book for a few months and I have made every effort to enjoy it but…it isn’t my kind of book. It is a very good book with complex characters and a locale, Buenos Aires, that is vibrant. The main character, referred to alternately as Michael or Munroe, was born into the cult, “The Chosen”, and has spent the years since her rescue acquiring the skills of an assassin. When she is asked to rescue Hannah who was kidnapped by her father when she was five, she is ready to take on the mission. It won’t be easy to convince Hannah to leave. She has been indoctrinated into rules and beliefs of The Chosen for eight years. Munroe knows through her experiences how the brainwashing leaves the cult members convinced that everything told to them by anyone outside the group will be a lie.
“The Prophet” demands total obedience and he demands access to the children who belong to him, giving him the right to molest the children in the group. Munroe and a group of other former members of the cult are a formidable fighting force who are not likely to be bested in combat. Those readers who like high-action thrillers will likely enjoy this book.
The description of the book led me to expect something different. Those who follow my blog know that I don’t post negative reviews. Vine doesn’t require reviews from its participants but it seems fair to offer one that looks at both sides, So, if a readers likes action and violence THE INNOCENT is a 4 star book. If a reader prefers the formulaic approach of a police procedural as I do, this is probably not the book for you.
On a tangential topic, writers of strong female characters are not done a service when their characters are described as being another Lisbeth Salander. Lisbeth is unique in fiction and she is the reason that Stieg Larsson’s books were so extraordinarily successful. Lisbeth is as damaged as a human being can be but I found her to be a sympathetic character because Lisbeth had rules. Michael Munroe is not a likeable character and I didn’t want to read about her.