Book review: Vigilante

Shelley Harris
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £12.99;
ebook €8.49

Kick-Ass for small-town mothers, Shelley Harris’ latest novel sees Jenny Pepper (an ordinary woman worrying she’s stuck in a domestic rut) don a mask and cape to fight everyday crime in the everytown of Bassetsbury.

Harris, whose last book was the Richard & Judy-approved Jubilee, herself wandered the streets of Marlow in costume by way of research. Accordingly, she displays a fine grasp of the odd details of such an experience.

Equally, Harris’ writing about the more ubiquitous trials of middle age and parenthood fuses the wryly familiar with flashes of poetry, and the plot’s thriller elements convey a real sense of jeopardy.

The premise isn’t hugely original; mums lacking superpowers and fantasy bodies have been turning superhero ever since the original Red Tornado in 1940, and the degree to which altruism and addiction are compounded in Jenny’s nocturnal forays suggests a Watchmen influence.

But it’s still worked through with charm and verve.


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