Thursday, November 23, 2023

ARC Review: Road Queens by MaryJanice Davidson

Road Queens

MaryJanice Davidson
Publication: Montlake (November 28, 2023)

Description: From the bestselling author of the Undead series comes a ride through the lives of three estranged friends as they’re reunited by murder (possible frame job) and mayhem (just the way they like it).

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.

My Thoughts: This is a story about three women's friendship and there is a mystery too. Cassandra, Sidney, and Amanda met in middle school and formed a lifelong friendship. 

Cassandra's mother killed her father when he caught Cassandra in the face with a fishhook. Of course, he had been abusing her mother Iris for years previous to that incident. Iris pled guilty, didn't want to plead extenuating circumstances, and didn't want Cassandra to have to testify. At age sixteen, Cassandra becomes a virtual orphan with her father dead and her mother in prison. Cassandra decides that she wants to help other spouses who are in abusive situations when she graduates from high school and her friends Sidney and Amanda want to help her. 

Cassandra names their organization Operation Starfish and they wrack up successes. But when one of the women they got out of a situation turns around and going back to her abusing husband who promptly kills her, Cassandra breaks up OpStar and leaves town. Leaving Sidney and Amanda to wonder where she went and try to fill the hole in their friendship.

Five years later, Cassandra is back and a suspect in the murder of the man who killed his wife and caused their organization to cease operation. Sidney and Amanda are quick to rush to her side along with Sean Beane who has been keeping an eye on the members of OpStar since they rescued his sister from a bad situation. He's fallen for Amanda.

The story isn't as straightforward as this precis. It is gradually revealed in flashbacks and comments between the three women. The story is filled with banter and pop culture references. Each of the women is a really, really quirky character. From Cassandra's obsession with dinner for breakfast to bookstore owner Amanda's desire to host a book signing for Edward Gorey (despite the fact that he died years ago) to Sidney's fear of moths, each woman is a unique individual. 

Fans of Davidson's writing style - her characters have no filters - will enjoy this story of friendship with a bit of mystery dropped in. 

Favorite Quote:
"At no point in our lives has 'don't worry' ever been followed by anything good."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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