Reviews > Published on June 6th, 2017

Bookshots: 'She Rides Shotgun' by Jordan Harper

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


She Rides Shotgun (In the UK it’s called A Lesson in Violence, since I’m guessing the phrase “riding shotgun” isn’t well known over there?)

Who wrote it?

Prepare for your heart to race through the entire reading experience, because this thing is fucking intense as they come.

Jordan Harper, author of the wonderful collection Love and Other Wounds, and screenwriter for The Mentalist and Gotham.

Plot in a box:

A man nearly finished with his prison sentence crosses a powerful leader of the Aryan Brotherhood, triggering a greenlight on his entire family. To ensure her survival, he must kidnap his daughter before others get to her first.

Invent a new title for this book:

Gunslinger Eyes

Read this if you like(d):

Harper’s previous collection, definitely. Also, fans of Leon: The Professional will love this.

Meet the book’s lead(s):

Nate, fresh out of prison, running not only for his life but also his daughter’s.

Polly, Nate’s very intelligent, wise, and funny daughter.

Said lead(s) would be portrayed in a movie by:

Nate — Garret Dillahunt (Maybe? I don’t know. I just want him to be in more movies. Give him a starring role, goddammit!)

Polly — All kid actors are terrible so I don’t know. GOOD LUCK.

Setting: Would you want to live there?

California, which is a wonderful state, so yes.

What was your favorite sentence?

He could have laughed at how fucked up life was. That soon as you found something to live for, you found something to die for too. But he guessed in the end it was a good trade.

The Verdict:

Road trip novels are a favorite genre of mine, especially when Nazis are chasing the main characters. And especially when the main characters are hunting the Nazis right back. And even more especially when one of the main characters is a little girl.

The best road trip/chase novels begin at 100MPH and do not let up, not even for a second, and this novel is no exception. Prepare for your heart to race through the entire reading experience, because this thing is fucking intense as they come, and may in fact be my favorite novel of 2017. Yeah, I know, it’s only June, but I read this one back in February and I still can’t stop thinking about it.

This is a book that makes you seriously, fully emotionally invest in a character that is a stuffed teddy bear. This might be Jordan Harper’s first published novel, but it in no way reads like it. Harper is a goddamn pro and as good as anybody out there, and if you don’t believe me then you’re a fool. Buy this thing immediately. Buy three copies and hand the other two out to strangers. This book needs to be read by everybody, especially little girls.

Get She Rides Shotgun at Bookshop or Amazon

About the author

Max Booth III is the CEO of Ghoulish Books, the host of the GHOULISH and Dog Ears podcasts, the co-founder of the Ghoulish Book Festival, and the author of several spooky books, including Abnormal Statistics, Maggots Screaming!, Touch the Night, and others. He wrote both the novella and film versions of We Need to Do Something, which was released by IFC Midnight in 2021 and can currently be streamed on Hulu. He was raised in Northwest Indiana and now lives in San Antonio.

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