This week we have Scoot by Christine Morgan. Christine is also the author of Changeling Moon,which I reviewed a few weeks back. Frog and I don’t review multiple books by the same author that often, but this is a very different book. First off, it isn’t a fantasy. It is however, a very interesting read; its tone falling somewhere between Clerks and Grosse Pointe Blank on the philosophy vs. action scale.
The story centers around two women, Jeanette and Allison, who are both hiding a secret identity. Pixie-like and platinum blonde, Jeanette’s alter ego is the cold as nails assassin-for-hire, codenamed Jade. Tiny and cute, no one thinks of death when they see her coming. One day in a moment of distraction, some punk on a skate board knocks her over and snatches her purse. Very inconveniently, she’s just come from accepting a job with a hefty retainer, a dossier on the target’s identity, and a caveat that she use the gun provided out of the target’s own collection…all of which happens to be MIA, since it’s sitting in the bottom of that purse. Her reputation and her career depend on getting that purse back. Maybe even her life.
Allison grew up in a wealthy, high-society family who soon smothered her with their expectations that she act like a proper “lady” at all times. She’s struck out on her own and shares a small apartment complex with a variety of other folks living paycheck-to-paycheck. She’s generally just trying to get by, and works at her maternal Uncle’s thrift store to make the little cash she needs to keep her tiny apartment. She too though, isn’t everything she appears on the surface. Her favorite past-time is donning the loose clothes and adrenaline-seeking persona of Scoot, a trick skater and occasional purse snatcher. She isn’t doing it for the money. Allison could just go home and be a “good daughter” if she wanted that. She’s doing it for the adrenaline high and the stories she finds inside. This time, she may have found a little more ‘story’ than she can handle.
The two women embark on a collision course just may end up ending lives and destroying livelihoods, trapped by their own past choices and double identities.
This book grips the reader and won’t let go because the protagonists have very realistic flaws and reactions. Neither character starts the book entirely stable, but they are a testament to what you can achieve (and possibly what you shouldn’t) in spite of your past and upbringing. They live life on their own terms, even if those terms can look pretty skewed to the rest of us.
Let me be clear. This is not your typical action novel. This book asks some deep questions about how we view ourselves and what it really means to accept who you are. It is at times realistically gritty, dirty, and ugly. If you aren’t interesting in taking a closer look at the underbelly of human psyche, this may not be the book for you. But it is at all times thought provoking, well executed, and well written.