Vanessa Michael Munroe has been kidnapped. It happened while her boss - and lover - was watching from his office window. Within moments, he'd begun trying to track her down only to discover that a second acquaintance was gone as well.
Munroe wakes to find she's been transported overseas by a man known as the Doll Maker. The man has Munroe's friend, Logan, as his bargaining chip and claims that she owes him a debt. Once her debt has been paid, both she and Logan will go free. Munroe is well aware that the Doll Maker cannot be trusted but defying him this early in the game will mean certain death for Logan even if she is able to escape. And what's the job? Human trafficking. The girl in question has had her face splashed all over the media since her highly publicized disappearance. Munroe can't fail but choosing the victime - Logan or the kidnapped girl - isn't sitting well with her either.
I kind of made a mistake with this latest from Taylor Stevens. I was told that it could easily be read on its own but the publisher very kindly supplied me with the first two installments so that I could read them in order. And I ran out of time. Readers, read them in order! The Doll begins with beaucoup action. It's a story already in progress. Which is not to say that it picks up in a to-be-continued way from The Innocent (I checked) but that it literally begins with Munroe's kidnapping. For me, this meant starting with no clue as to what Capstone was, who Bradford was to Munroe, who Logan was to Munroe, or what Munroe's special set of skills actually was. Stevens does touch on all of these things but I think getting to know the character from the beginning of the series would have been easier than diving in midstream.
Not to mention the references to previous jobs! I'm know for a fact that this means spoilers for when I do go back to the beginning. So no, this one can't be read easily on its own in my opinion, unless it's the only Taylor Stevens novel you plan on reading, which I highly doubt would be the case once you finish this latest in the series.
All of that said, The Doll is the kind of book you can (and probably should) read all in one go. The action doesn't let up at any time in the book - it begins on page one and you're soon off alternating between Bradford as he tries desperately to save Munroe and Munroe herself as she attempts to outwit the Doll Maker.
The Doll is out on shelves today. The Informationist and The Innocent (books one and two in the series) are both available in paperback.