Vigilante by Shelley Harris

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Vigilante by Shelley Harris

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sophie Diamond
Reviewed by Sophie Diamond
Summary: A sleep English suburb, a sudden surge of crime, a superhero awakens. An honest, exciting story that’ll keep you turning those pages and cheering for the Vigilante to save the day.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 339 Date: January 2015
Publisher: W&N
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978 0 297 86461 5

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Jenny Pepper is a forty-something wife and mother who is stuck wondering where her life has gone. Privately, Jenny is jealous of her husband, he has a wonderful creative career that people can’t wait to hear more about, while Jenny’s work as a mother and her job at a charity bookshop seems to put a stopper on conversation. Jenny envies her daughter, with her youthful figure and a whole life stretched out in front of her. When tidying up one night, Jenny discovers her husband’s secret and just like that her life changes.

What starts out a a fancy dress costume, designed to give Jenny back her oomph, accidentally turns into her alter-ego. When Jenny slips on the mask and ties her cape, she is no longer Jenny Pepper but a superhero and she’s arrived just in time. Someone’s moving in on the girls in Jenny’s daughter’s school year and it looks like Jenny’s the only one who might be able to track this monster down. Jenny’s other life starts to improve her ordinary daily existence, she’s not taking life lying down for a moment longer.

This isn’t your traditional superhero tale. There are no special powers, there’s no caricatured super-villain with a freeze ray and, sorry to disappoint you, no one can fly. Instead, there is someone out there carrying out violent attacks on teenage girls and Jenny becomes more super-mum than superman. The crimes and the aftermaths aren't comic book, they’re shocking and sickening and it feels as real as if it were happening in your town. Jenny’s story is about ordinary people making a difference by realising that you don’t have to be a helpless in the face of a scary, violent world.

I haven’t enjoyed a book this much in ages. It’s chick lit, crime and whodunit all rolled in to one brilliant package. Jenny’s voice is uncomfortably honest, she knows wandering around at night in a superhero outfit is a bit ridiculous, she’s not very strong and it hurts when she takes the hits. She is far from indestructible but she realises that some things are worth the sacrifice of your personal safety. Jenny is brave and admirable, the kick-ass superhero we all want to be on the inside.

It’s not just Jenny, the story itself is brave; Harris doesn't sugar-coat anything in her writing. Jenny’s life starts out as painfully tedious and when she becomes the vigilante things just get painful, as the streets of her once safe neighbourhood become increasingly dangerous. The story really enforces the message that crime can happen anywhere and anyone can be a victim. You can’t stop it but you can fight back, and when people can’t fight back for themselves, that’s where the vigilante steps in.

You go backwards and forwards with Jenny on the decision over whether to tell her nearest and dearest her secret. Will she be admired or laughed at? The longer she hides it, the more time she goes on patrol, the more she appears in the paper, the bigger her secret gets. But her biggest secret is just the tip of the iceberg of the small things that seem to go unsaid in her family. Is her marriage really the relationship she thought? Is her daughter hiding something? But the most pertinent mystery of all is who is attacking these girls and will the police or the vigilante catch up with him first? Is Jenny Pepper, full-time mum and part-time hero, able to defeat this terror or will it mean her very mortal end?

Harris is a brilliant writer and Vigilante is a clever, fun, original story which millions of women will be able to relate to.

If you like the sound of this, you'd like other funny and honest women’s fiction, like Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy by Helen Fielding

Buy Vigilante by Shelley Harris at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Vigilante by Shelley Harris at

Buy Vigilante by Shelley Harris at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Vigilante by Shelley Harris at


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