Book Review: She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper

Title: She Rides Shotgun

Author: Jordan Harper

Genre: Crime Thriller

Number of Pages: 257

Rating: B

Recommended?: Yes

Bullied, lonely Polly is eleven when her dad abducts her in front of her school to prevent her from being killed by the skinhead gang who has put a hit out on his family. When Polly’s father Nate kills a gangbanger in prison, the dead guy’s brother ‘greenlights’ the murders of his ex-wife and Polly.

The ex-wife Avis and her new husband Tom are killed but Nate gets to Polly just in time and whisks her away. He trains Polly to be a badass as they fight back against the men who are tracking them. She Rides Shotgun is a fast-paced crime thriller that nevertheless feels a little cartoonish at times.

Polly’s attitude sometimes reminded me a little bit of Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass, even though she didn’t actually kill anybody herself. She seemed to become daddy’s li’l ass-kicker pretty fast. There wasn’t that much in-between time of her just being a normal kid. The father-daughter relationship was one of the strongest elements of the book but I wished she had had a more long-term reaction to her mom being murdered.

She was devastated at first but she seemed to get over it surprisingly quickly. The book was written in third-person with multiple perspectives which included an Park, an Asian cop who was pursuing Nate and a woman named Charlotte who’s affiliated with the bad guys but ends up helping Nate and having a relationship with him.

That relationship was a little abrupt and underdeveloped- one minute he’s holding her at gunpoint and grilling her for information and the next they’re having sex? I’m sure that wasn’t the case but it kinda felt that way. I liked the inclusion of Polly’s teddy bear and how it felt like he was a character in his own right. Polly was the most compelling character, while I felt a little apathetic towards Nate. Park felt like the ‘obsessed cop with no personal life’ cliche.

Polly has an extreme upbringing and I’d definitely be curious what she would be like as an adult. She’ll probably become a secret agent or something because she’s hooked on the adrenaline. Despite some elements that strained credulity, this was an entertaining book with that kept me guessing throughout. It might make a good movie and it might also be interesting to see a sequel eventually, with maybe Polly raising a son or a daughter herself and dealing with the demons of her past.

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