Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Jordan Harper: She Rides Shotgun

I'm late joining the crowd praising Jordan Harper's first novel, She Rides Shotgun. It came out already in 2017 (okay, less than two years ago, which to my mind means it's a new book), but I managed to get it only last Christmas (it was a present from me to me). True, I read it very fast once I started it. She Rides Shotgun is an excellent crime novel, which really deserved the Edgar for the best debut it got.

She Rides Shotgun has been compared to Charles Portis's True Grit, a marvellous anti-Western Western from the late 1960's. True, Portis's novel is narrated by the 14-year female lead herself, and She Rides Shotgun is divided between chapters in which the main focalizer (and not the narrator) is either 11-year old Polly McClusky or his ex-con father  Park, who is out to save her ass from the neo-nazis that already killed her mother.

The premise is already intriguing. Add to that Harper's narrative skills and his lines of occasional poetry, and you have a winner. Add to that a copious amount of shuddering violence, and you have a double-winner. And mind you, there's never a hint of sexual abuse toward Polly, though lesser writers might have veered into that direction. I didn't know if the prelude with the bad sheriff of a Hicksville was necessary, but it got the fear of him into my heart.

You've all probably read about Dan Mallory already. I have his Woman in the Window as by A. J. Finn sitting on a shelf, but I can forget it and read She Rides Shotgun again instead. (But really, the New Yorker piece on Mallory is amazing.)

1 comment:

Elgin Bleecker said...

Juri – I am with you – this was a great crime novel. I read it last summer and posted a review of it on my blog: