Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Road Queens by MaryJanice Davidson
Narrator: Barrie Kreinik
Published by Brilliance Audio on November 28, 2023
Length: 8 hours, 28 minutes
Operation Starfish has one goal: to remove domestic violence survivors from danger. But when a mission backfires in tragedy, the band of bikers who founded OpStar dissolves the organization and their ride-or-die friendship.
Five years later Amanda, Sidney, and Cassandra are brought back together by the same thing that tore them apart when the man who victimized his wife is murdered, and all signs point to Cassandra.
Circumstances being what they are—in a word: dire—the trio reignites their bond, if only to shut and barricade the door to their past once and for all. Their tentative sisterhood is infiltrated by Investigator Sean Beane, whose intentions aren’t as clear as they should be, but even so he’s too tempting for his (or Amanda’s) own good.
Despite all reservations, regrets, and blossoming romance, it’s time for these biker babes to strap on their helmets and hit the road—before the real murderer can run them off it.
Road Queens is about three women now in their mid twenties who used to be best friends in high school but had a falling out around five to six years ago. But in true sisterhood of the traveling pants style, when one is in trouble the other two come running to help her out. Some one is dead and Cass is one of the suspects in the crime. Amanda and Sidney will drop everything to make sure their friend is safe and not snatched up for the crime. They thought they didn’t know the victim but as more things come to light and through flashbacks to the past we find out how he was involved in the dissolution of the dream the girls shared.
There is a lot to unpack in this novel. Some funny characters and one liners, along with some just total eyerolling moments. I liked the female characters but they could be a little over the top. The banter between them was funny, you could tell why they were drawn to each other and fell into friendships that were so strong even if Cassandra shut them out for years. There are some cool history tidbits about women motorcycle riders over the years thrown in here and there. There was some stuff I just thought could have been lessened like the cop bashing, or references to #notallcops, especially when not one of the characters had a bad experience to draw from with a cop. It just seemed unnecessary overall and mentioned too many times.
Operation Starfish was a dream they had to save some battered spouses or at least try to give them a chance to get out of horrible situations. They were able to help some but after one pretty big disaster they hung up their mission and moved on with their lives. Now as they try to figure out who could have killed someone that contributed to the reason they parted all those years ago, we will flash back to that time and see more of the girls in their lives. With the help of Sean Beane (name just a coincidence), they are determined to see justice prevail this time.
This was my first book by MaryJanice Davidson and for me it was just an okay story. Maybe the big reveal of who did it was a little bit of a let down and the book didn’t seem to really wrap up, but more like an into to possibly a trilogy as Sidney has a MIA husband they still need to find and Cassandra’s high school bully is still out there somewhere trying to make trouble for her. But I liked all the characters even former detective, turned private Sean Beane were at least interesting and I could see spending more time with them.
Barrie Kreinik has a nice catalog of over 150 titles. I have some on my TBR but this was my first experience with the narrator. I think they did a really good job as capturing each person’s individual personality and perspective in the story. I liked the pacing and the delivery of the one liners. The diction was good, voice distinction really good and performance of the material probably kept me more engaged than if I had tried to read it on my own. I was able to listen at my usual 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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