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After releasing five novels and a short for her Vanessa Michael Munroe series, with this book Taylor Stevens has introduced what appears to be a new series, the Jack and Jill Thrillers. In the eight years she has been a published author and a podcaster/blogger on writing she has obviously learned/earned her chops. I tried out her first novel, The Informationist, when it came out in 2011 and while I found it well written I did not particularly care for it. Since then I've dipped into the Kindle samples for her subsequent releases and still was not drawn in. That changed when I checked out Liars' Paradox. Realistic and sympathetic characters mixed with tight world building and Steven's normal fast paced and well written work convinced me to read the whole book. Liars' Paradox opens with a pair of 26 year old twins, Jack and Jill, who are having trouble adjusting to what passes for reality in most of the white western middle class. Their mom was a veteran of years of clandestine activities presumably for an unmentioned three letter agency, when suddenly she became a top entry on that agency's hit list. This lead to a life on the run with her two twins in tow. To survive she did things she would find regrettable but necessary. For her children's protection, or so she tells them, they must learn all the skills she displays with such competance-manufactured identities, expertise in a variety of weapons, escape and evasion, disguises, secure communications, hideouts, covert stashes-you get the idea. They are raised from infancy with a thorough grounding in how to handle a rifle or garrote a larger opponent, alter their appearance at the inversion of a hat and basically wreck havoc. Both kids are brilliant in their own individual ways and become adept at being invisible with the potential of extreme lethality when needed. As a matter of survival many aspects of a normal upbringing were skipped, such as how to be normal, have friends, pursue happiness, trust other people or just to relax and enjoy themselves. You can probably guess that both Jack and Jill carry some serious baggage. Since Mom cut them loose at 18 Jill uses drugs and random sex to tamp the demons down where Jack pretends to be a hyper responsible, strait laced nerd (or Mom's bitch as Jill so sweetly puts it). Interplay between the two is one of the delights of the book. The twins love/hate relationship with each other extends, of course, to Mom but that doesn't stop them from coming running when she calls at the beginning of the book. One thing cascades into another and they are soon on the run for their lives while searching for their mother with multiple highly skilled assailants on their trail. A well written story with plenty of action (perhaps one firefight too many but that's a minor point) let the pages unroll smoothly for quality escape entertainment.
I get a real kick out of reading this type of book, the assassin-for-hire adventure thriller. I had not been aware of the Jack and Jill Mystery series so was very interested in trying out this first book. And, boy, am I glad I've read Liars' Paradox. This is action packed from first page to last with very good character development and superb plotting. Anyone who reads this type of novel knows that the exploits of the characters is going to be over-the-top but that doesn't mean the authors can get away with sloppy action. Taylor Stevens has kept her characters as believable as possible under the circumstances and still give readers an action packed story.
Jack and Jill (maybe their real names, maybe not) are twins who grew up under incredibly difficult circumstances. Their mother had been an active espionage agent before they were born and her paranoia kept her teaching and training them from the time they were five or six to evade government hunters who might want to use them to get back to her. Later the training moved into the tradecraft of assassination and all the deception relative to staying off the radar of anyone looking for them. This is a fast moving story with the question of who to trust always staring this young (26 year old) team in the face. I am certainly looking forward to reading Liars' Legacy due for release December 3, 2019.
I enjoy her writing This book is different. You are bombarded with information, not quite understanding. But slowly the pieces begin to make sense. Loads of twists and turns, but very realistic examination of children lacking adequate nurturing from parents and the toll it takes. All the while immersed in running from or chasing after the perceived enemy.
I eagerly await each of Taylor Stevens’ books! This one is a stand alone, although I think there may be more Jack & Jill books in the future! I enjoyed the book and read it quickly! I think the Jack & Jill characters need to be fleshed out a little for a 5 star from me. I WILL read what ever Taylor comes up with next tho!
Fast paced book left me breathless. Too implausible for five stars and the characters are one dimensional. Good book for those who like non stop action and a twisting plot that is clever and complex. Couldn't stop reading it but glad it's over!
4.0 out of 5 starsI’ve read all of Taylor Stevens books my favorite the first one. I h I’ve read all of Taylor Stevens books my favorite the first one. I hated to finish it. I liked this one but not as much as Monroe. ated to finish it. I liked this one but not as much as Monroe.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 28, 2018