Title: The Catch
Author: Taylor Stevens
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: ARC from the publisher
Number of pages: 368
First line: On the rooftop edge, she waited, eyes tracking down the length of the street while she sat with one knee dropped over the side, the other tucked under her chin, ears attuned to the small sounds that marked the climber’s progress toward her.
Goodreads blurb: In the wake of going head-to-head with international sex traffickers in The Doll, Munroe has retreated to Djibouti, where, while passing as a man, she finds work as an interpreter for a small, private, maritime security company. Pressed into duty at sea by her boss, Leo, Munroe discovers she is part of a gunrunning operation and she wants no part in protecting the crew or cargo. When the ship is attacked by pirates off the Somali coast, Munroe escapes and takes the unconscious captain with her to get answers. Leo’s wife, Amber Marie, the only person Munroe has cared about since she arrived in Africa, is desperate when Leo goes missing along with the rest of the hijacked crew, so Munroe agrees to try to find him for Amber Marie’s sake. She soon realizes it’s not the cargo or the ship or the crew that the hijackers were after: they want the captain. On the run, wounded, without connections or resources, and with the life of the captain as bait and bartering chip, Munroe believes that the only way to save Leo, assuming he’s still alive, is to hijack the ship back.
I really am having a hard time writing this review, which shows how difficult it can be to be an unbiased reviewer when you feel you have come to “know” an author online. It is hard to write a less than stellar review when you know that the author will be reading it and feeling let down – not with me personally, because Taylor isn’t like that – but in my opinion of her book.
First, I will start off with a bit of a disclaimer, which I’m sure you’ve already figured out: I LOVE Taylor Stevens – both as a person, and as an author. Her life story and journey to publishing absolutely astound me, and I have been so happy for every bit of recognition she has gotten.
I also LOVE the character of Vanessa “Michael” Munroe, which is why I finished this book, and why I have already purchased the e-novella that comes before this novel chronologically (The Vessel), and why I will read every future book Taylor writes about Michael. She is a complex, fascinating character, and I have come to love her through the course of the previous books in the series: The Informationist, The Innocent, and The Doll. She is interesting, intelligent, and strong – yet still vulnerable and authentically female, and I find myself rooting for her as I read her stories.
I have to say, however, that this is the weakest book in the series to date. I wish that weren’t so. There were a couple things that made it a less enjoyable read for me. First, the absence of Miles Bradford. I don’t believe that a male character is necessary to make for an interesting book, but I have enjoyed the growing relationship between the two of them in the previous books, and I missed it in this one. Without the byplay between the characters, I felt less personally connected to Michael. Second, the plot. There were so many players in the game that it was very difficult to follow. It was definitely high-octane and action-packed, but it was also convoluted and confusing at times.
I gave The Catch three stars: I liked it, but it wasn’t as much of a winner for me as the previous books in Taylor’s series. For those of you who haven’t read any Michael stories yet, I highly recommend that you get book one, The Informationist. It is brilliant – and it will hook you on Michael’s character.