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Book Review: Subversion by J.P. Choquette

Book Review: Subversion by J.P. Choquette

It's Book Review Wednesday, my favorite day of the week! Today, our book is a mystery/suspense novel about a female detective/vigilante/private eye/freelance strong arm…


Tayt Waters is a vigilante. A business owner. And a woman on a mission. Helping people who have been failed by the justice system get their just rewards ... one way or another. Subversion cover DIGITAL edition--resized for web And then Tayt’s estranged father shows up: the key suspect in a local murder case involving a young woman. How could her father—responsible and upstanding to the point of perfection—be involved? As Tayt races to find answers, she realizes that murder isn’t the only criminal act her father is accused of. And the further she digs, the more danger she finds herself in.

My Review: 3.5 Stars

I very much enjoyed the character of Tayt Waters. She was well-written, grounded, and intriguing. Definitely one of the best female characters I've read in a long time. However, the rest of the book was a bit hit and miss. There was no real suspense in the book, and the mystery didn't have me particularly intrigued. There were a couple of interesting secondary and supporting characters, but the villain/s were a bit iffy. There was never really any danger for the character until the climactic moment, and even then it felt a bit slipshod. Perhaps it was just this book that "missed the mark". The character is a fascinating one, and if the writer can create a gripping, compelling storyline, Tayt Waters would be one to follow.

Here's a Taste:

I pull into the lot of the motel minutes later. The place is a typical low-budget accommodation: slate blue with gray shutters, the paint faded and chipped when illuminated in the car’s light beams. Twenty units running along the front of the building, each featuring a pair of cheap white chairs out front and empty pots which in the summer must bloom with some hardy flower. The area is neglected and ugly, from the potholed gravel driveway to the nearby and equally rundown cottage with a neon sign flashing “office.” A scruffy-looking young guy behind the counter barely glances up when the little bell jingles. He stares intently at his computer as though he’s just putting the final touches on a formula to cure cancer. “Hello” I say. “I’m looking for a friend who checked in recently.” I decide not to use Patty’s name in case she’s taken on an alias. Instead, I slide the now slightly crumpled photo across the counter to him. “Can you tell me what room she’s in?” He shakes his head without looking. I grit my teeth. “Would you mind taking a peek before you say no?” Twenty-Something sighs heavily, as though I’ve asked him for a ride to Chicago in his rickshaw. He looks at the photo for about two seconds, then looks away, then back. The dark eyes get wider. “We don’t give out that kind of information about guests.” I grab a ten dollar bill from my back pocket and slide it over the counter. “Maybe this will help.” The guy just stares. “Look, I’m not asking for a room key, buddy, just a room number. She can decide if she wants to let me in or not.” He glances at the money, rubs a hand over his chin. “Nope, sorry.” He starts to look back to his computer, and I fumble in my pocket again, slipping a second ten onto the chipped surface. “You sure?” He looks at the money, then me, then back to the money. He smiles. His teeth are crooked and stained a little around the edges. “Yeah, I think I do remember now. Seeing your friend.” “And?” “And what?” He rubs the side of his nose, pockets the cash. “That’s all that twenty bucks gets you. She was in the office. You need more information than that, and it will cost you another—” I grab his shirt collar and bring his head to the counter so fast that his glasses nearly stay behind. “Hey, are you freaking crazy?” He whines, and the sound of it makes me want to bash his head again just for the fun of it. “Do you have a room number or not?” “Yeah, man. I mean, yes, yes, ma’am,” he says, as I pull the fabric tighter. “I’m losing patience,” I say, the fabric of the guy’s shirt cutting into his neck enough to make a deep red line. “And your manners could really use some work. Now,” I hiss, drawing my face close enough to his to see an ingrown hair on his forehead, “what’s the room number?” Minutes later I rap on the door of number sixteen, and wait. Silence. I try to look through the curtains, but they’re drawn tight against spying eyes. I hunch low and check under the door. The door is about a half inch shorter than it should be. No light shines through. I knock again, wait. No answer. Walking around the building, long weeds and empty cans connect with my boots every so often. I count the numbers backward and look in the rear window. This, I guess, must be the bathroom. There’s no sound of running water, no light coming from the small square. Most of the rooms appear empty, though the neighbor in number seventeen is taking a shower. I walk back to the front of the motel and retrace my steps to the car, slide in behind the wheel. Who knows how long she’ll be gone? I lean back in my seat, the headrest wearing a familiar groove fitted to my skull. There is a dull hum of traffic on the interstate and images play behind my eyelids. I’m so tired. I didn’t realize just how much until my eyelids get heavier and heavier ... My eyes jerk open to the sound of a door slamming. I see a narrow band of light under the door of number sixteen and breathe a sigh of relief. The sooner I can get Patty talking, the sooner I can get the information I need and head home. Hustling toward the door, I pat my jacket, making sure that the can of pepper spray is in the pocket. It’s doubtful I will need it, but still, better safe than sorry, right? There is music playing from behind the door, seventies rock. The curtain moves as someone brushes past, and my heart does a somersault. I press myself close to the doorframe, glad that the porch light isn’t on. I kick myself for snoozing instead of remaining focused. If Patty is volatile, there could be ugliness. If she is surprised enough, though, maybe I can weasel my way into the room. I knock twice, in what I hope is a friendly, non-threatening manner. “Patty?” I call out. The music continues blasting. I knock more loudly and raise my voice. “Hey, Patty?” This time there is a flutter at the window, the curtain pulls back momentarily and her face, white and topped with teased bangs, peers out. Then the face is gone and the deadbolt is being thrown. When the door opens, it’s my mouth that’s hanging open in surprise.

About the Author:

J.P. Choquette is a mystery and suspense author from New England ... Here in the green mountains, she writes novels that keep readers on the edge of their seats. Stand-alone books include Epidemic (2013) and Dark Circle (2014). Subversion (2014) is part of the Tayt Waters mystery series. The sequel, Restitution, was released in 2015. Choquette is currently working on another suspense novel, this one set in the deep woods of the back country. Choquette is passionate about justice and her novels frequently interweave this theme into the fast-paced mystery/suspense stories she writes. With a bachelor's degree in psychology, Choquette remains fascinated by human behavior. In her free time, Choquette enjoys reading (of course!) riding her scooter, long walks, making junk-art and drinking hot beverages ... just not all at the same time. Find the book on Amazon: Visit her website: Connect with her on Facebook: