Reminiscent of the heroines found in the popular fiction series such as Stephanie Plum and Kay Scarpetta, “Subversion” by J.P. Choquette clearly uses aforementioned characters as inspirations for her own Tayt Waters.
The heroine in Choquette’s “Subversion” is no one trick pony. A self-proclaimed vigilante, Tayt Waters is a house cleaner by day and a restorer of justice by night, the latter by any means necessary. Told in first person (an ambitious decision in its own right), “Subversion” is a quick read which will be devoured by those who enjoy a nice mystery with their coffee.
The story is set in what is clearly a very picturesque in Northwest Vermont, allowing the tale to have a certain amount of ‘behind closed doors’ intrigue. Triggering the plot itself is the arrival of Tayt’s own father and his relation to a local murder case where a young woman has been murdered. Upon further analysis of her father’s potential involvement in the crime, Tayt’s uncovers more uncomfortable facts about her father.
The novel seems to have a difficult time in what it really is aiming to be. While not entirely a true mystery or suspense novel, it is also not just a small town set novel where the perseverance of the nuclear family is first and foremost. With her clear ambitions to solve crimes, Tayt also treasures her relationships with her mother and sister and does her best to maintain their quality. I guess I just found it a little hard to believe that in such a small town where family values are as popular as ever that there would be a character such as Tayt.
That being said, the mechanics of Choquette’s writing are mature and effective. She does not mince words in presenting sinister situations, allowing the novel itself to plod along at a pleasant pace and maintaining the reader’s attention. I literally breezed through the novel in a very short period, a testament to its capacity to transport the reader to another place and time. And after all, isn’t this what fiction is all about?