Meet Polly: eleven years old and smart beyond her years. But she’s a loner, always on the outside, until she is unexpectedly reunited with her father. Meet Nate: fresh out of jail and driving a stolen car, Nate takes Polly from the safety of her quiet existence into a world of robbery, violence and the constant threat of death. And he does it to save her life. A Lesson in Violence is a gripping and emotionally wrenching novel that upends even our most long-held expectations about heroes, villains and victims. Nate takes Polly to save her life, but in the end it may very well be Polly who saves him.
As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew this was going to be an unforgettable ride. It seems like complex father-daughter relationships are a popular theme in recent books and I couldn’t be happier. A Lesson In Violence (aka She Rides Shotgun) was one of my favorite reads of the summer.
I don’t usually enjoy action-packed stories in books as much as in movies, but A Lesson In Violence was the exception to the rule. I was completely addicted from the moment I started it. This book tells the story of a man, Nate, who has just been released from prison but is wanted by some dangerous men. The Aryan Steel gang wants him and his family dead and Nate can’t allow them to harm his daughter Polly. So he picks her up from school and makes her travel with him.
Road trip stories are usually wonderful and this one is just the perfect adventure. You will read it quickly and you will immensely enjoy the ride. Polly and Nate’s bond grows strong, she learns how to be brave and fierce and he discovers that he might have a weakness, after all. The novel is dark and gritty, but with a lovely side at the same time.
As for other characters, I think that the detective’s perspective was interesting as well and I couldn’t wait to find out how he would behave when catching up with the fugitives. Help them or hurt them? And how is this journey going to end? It surely can’t go on forever…
Haven’t read Jordan Harper’s short story collection, but I’ll surely pick up his next book. A Lesson In Violence is an unforgettable tale of family and redemption.
Netgalley, Simon and Schuster UK, 2017