She Rides Shotgun: A Novel by Jordan Harper, Ecco, US $26.99, Pp 272, June 2017, ISBN 978-0062394408
Polly McClusky is an eleven-year-old shy girl. She is too old for the teddy bear she carries with her everywhere. Her father, Nate, fresh out of jail, is driving a stolen car when they were unexpectedly reunited. Nate takes her daughter from the front of her school into a world of robbery, violence, and the constant threat of death. He thinks he is doing it to save her life because Nate had made dangerous enemies in prison. A gang called Aryan Steel has put out a bounty on his head, expecting its members on the outside to finish him off. The gang has already murdered his ex-wife and Polly’s mother and is after Polly, their next target. Nate and Polly’s lives are a series of narrow misses, of evading the bad guys and the police, of sleepless nights in motels. Polly is growing up early, has little time to mourn her mother. She also learns how to take a punch and pull off a drug-house heist. She transforms from a shy little girl into a true fighter. Nate learns what it’s like to love fiercely and unconditionally — a love he’s never quite felt before. The question is whether their powerful bond can transcend the dangerous existence and enable them to live an honest life, free of fear. She Rides Shotgun is an attention-gripping novel and touches your emotions. It is a heart-wrenching saga of a broken family. She Rides Shotgun is more thrilling than any other thriller. It is written beautifully and one of the best debuts.
Jordan Harper was born and raised in Missouri. He has worked as an ad man, a rock critic and a TV writer. He is the former music editor of St. Louis’s Riverfront Times and a former critic for Village Voice Media. He currently lives in Los Angeles and writes for The Mentalist on CBS.