A preteen girl on the run with her newly-released convict father from a murderous neo-Nazi organization may be a promising script for a Hollywood adventure movie. Change venues though and you have the new winner for the best first novel as awarded from the Edgar Awards this year. Jordan Harper’s She Rides Shotgun is an atmospheric, violent tale of 11-year-old Polly McClusky on the road trip of her life to stay alive.
Polly’s father Nate aims to keep the two of them alive as they avoid the Aryan Steel gang. A bounty is placed on Nate after he kills a gang member in prison and Polly’s mother is killed by those outside the prison. The father/daughter duo are forced to avoid the police too as they resort to theft and more to stay on the run through California.
This gritty thriller matches writer Harper’s previous published work in a collection of stories in Love and Other Wounds, also in the Library’s collection. Again, it features people immersed in illegal activities as crime fiction is a comfortable avenue for this writer.
Along with the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America, Harper’s novel garnered an Alex Award for this year. Under the umbrella of the American Library Association, the Alex Awards are awarded to adult titles deemed to have strong appeal to young adult readers.