Road Rash (Shea Stevens #4), by Dharma Kelleher

Eight stars

Back in the swing of things, I eagerly reached for another book by Dharma Kelleher. Her latest novel in the Shea Stevens series packs a punch and offers readers some insights into the LGBTQ+ world with some of Kelleher’s first-hand knowledge. The author adds more grit to this piece—a self-styled biker thriller—and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat throughout, while also educating on a variety of topics. I am always pleased when Dharma Kelleher pens another book and this was no exception.

Shea Stevens has always been a proud active member of the Athena Sisterhood Motorcycle Club, while managing a custom bike shop as well. When she is asked to help locate the daughter of two friends in a local ‘cult’, Shea agrees with some trepidation. She knows nothing about cults and will have to style herself slightly differently in order to get the needed information. Still, she is willing to make whatever sacrifice needed to help a friend in need.

After a significant road accident, Shea is shaken but not deterred from going undercover, where she learns just how strong the power of suggestion can be. Remaining as acute as she can, Shea locates the woman she is to help extricate, but the power of the cult has already taken hold. It will surely be a fight to get answers and remove a young woman from the clutches of a powerful group.

All the while, Shea’s niece is attending an overnight camp that is not entirely what it seems. This could mean real trouble for Shea and the other girls at the camp, especially after the shake-up occurring at the cult’s main facility. Shea will have to scramble to ensure everyone is safe and justice prevails, as tough as that seems from time to time. Kelleher offers up another winner and has me eager to see what else she’s got up her sleeve in the coming years.

I am unsure how I found Dharma Kelleher or her books, but I have not once regretted doing so. Kelleher not only knows how to write with ease, but her style is smooth and full of interesting tidbits about both bikers and the LGBTQ+ community. I find things easy to comprehend, without feeling things are watered down, and am always keen to see what I will take away from one of her novels. There is much to be said for keeping an open mind as a reader and Dharma Kelleher has done well to prove just how worthwhile such acceptance can be.

I often find myself either liking or being turned off by a book in the opening pages. Dharma Kelleher is able to lure me in with her storytelling abilities no matter my mood. This novel provides a strong narrative and keeps the reader engaged as they are along for the ride. There is a handful of strong, key characters, many of whom are back in this piece, which allows the reader to trace their development or be entertained by all they have to offer. Short chapters keep the story moving along and permits the reader to devour large portions of the story in a single sitting. There are great plot twists throughout, which mix well alongside the grittiness of what’s being presented. Dharma Kelleher may come across as a humble author, but she is surely one to follow, as she has a great deal to say, for those eager to listen.

Kudos, Madam Kelleher, for keeping me entertained throughout.

Blood Sisters (Shea Stevens #3), by Dharma Kelleher

Eight stars

Always pleased to get my hands on a book by Dharma Kelleher, I was happy to read the latest in the Shea Stevens series. Kelleher develops more grit and blood in this ‘biker thriller’, which has the reader speeding alongside as the narrative gains momentum. Kelleher pulls on a great deal of own experiences to entertain the reader effectively until the stunning conclusion. I am quite pleased to return to this series to see how Shea Stevens can pack a punch.

While running her motorcycle shop during the day, Shea Stevens is also an active member of the Athena Sisterhood Motorcycle Club. When a troubled woman approaches Shea and seeks the assistance of the Club, things take on a whole new angle. A dirty politician with a deep secret will stop at nothing to keep his transgressions from being known. This worries Shea more than anything. A visit to the state senator backfires and things turn deadly, all while Shea is seeking a truce.

All the while, a group from a rival gang area back for some retribution after they have been released from jail. It is sure to be a bloody affair, one that Shea cannot sanction with everything else going on. As the Sisterhood are trying to fend people off on two fronts, Shea has a personal issue that boils over and requires her attention as well. It’s sure to be a bloody mess, but Shea Stevens is not one to back down, even as her life hangs in the balance. Kelleher does a great job with this newest book in the series, sure to pique the interest of the open-minded reader.

I cannot remember how I stumbled upon the works of Dharma Kelleher, but I have not looked back since devouring the first novel. Her work is gritty, realistic, and impactful, without needing to be overly gruesome. The reader gets just what they need and can follow along with ease, as the narrative flows without issue. Great characters and issues that brings to the forefront topics that are only now seeing the light of day, Kelleher educates her readers as much as entertain them.

I always look for a strong opening to keep me enthralled with a book, something that proves to be central to this novel. Kelleher offers a strong narrative and provides the reader with something they can digest with ease. Key characters return for another round of fighting and self-reflection, which provides the reader with something entertaining as they get into some troubling issues. Plot twists emerge throughout, adding depth to the story and those characters in the middle of it all, which makes it all the more impactful try the closing pages. I may not know much about bikers or how they run their everyday lives, but Dharma Kelleher is surely a great teacher and I am ready to learn even more.

Kudos, Madam Kelleher, for a great piece that I could not put down!

Boosted: A Shea Stevens Short Thriller (Shea Stevens # 0.5), by Dharma Kelleher

Eight stars

I discovered the gritty work of Dharma Kelleher earlier this year and devoured her two novels with Shea Stevens in the protagonist’s seat. With this recently released prequel short story, Kelleher takes readers back to see just how Shea’s youth shaped her into being the woman she is today, still obsessed with motorcycles and with a keen eye for business opportunities. At the age of sixteen, Shea Stevens seeks to carve out her own niche. Her father is the former president of the Confederate Thunder Motorcycle Club, a renegade group that has dodged the law for a long time. Added to that, Shea witnessed him kill her mother in cold blood, leaving Shea in the hands of DCS. While there is much money to be made in selling dope, she wants something with a greater reward. After hearing that she could make money delivering vehicles to the local chop shop, Shea and her girlfriend try to ‘apply’ for a job. However, no one seems to want to take the bait and she’s sent walking. With her silver tongue, Shea is able to convince the owner to give her one chance and is sent to heist a vehicle in short order. Zeroing in on the car she wants, Shea tries to hot-wire it and get it back for her fee. After learning that she’s taken the vehicle of Milo Volkov, a member of the Chechen mob, Shea rushes to return the vehicle to save her girlfriend’s life. Milo has other ideas and thinks that he can overpower Shea, but she has an agenda all her own. What follows is the early stages of grit and determination that series fans have come to expect in Shea Stevens. A wonderfully quick story that gives the reader a little more insight into the life of Shea Stevens and the start to what will surely be an interesting career, with Confederate Thunder casting a long shadow. Kelleher fans will enjoy this one, perfect for that morning coffee period.

As I mentioned before, Dharma Kelleher is a fairly recent addition to my reading library, but the gamble has paid off many times over. Fans of SAMCRO will likely enjoy this series and might enjoy the early years of She Stevens’ life. The story is short enough that there is little time for character development, but the premise is clear; Shea has always put herself first and is happy to blur the line between legal and illegal, as long as she ends up safe. The full-length novels reveal much about Shea and her entire entourage, but this piece is equally entertaining and shows that Kelleher is looking to hash out her protagonist to better explore how things turned around for everyone involved. Intriguing and full of bantering dialogue that is ideal for series fans, this is not a piece to miss. Plus, Amazon had it on for a single American cent (since we lost the penny in Canada).

Kudos, Madam Kelleher for entertaining me with all you write. I hope others come to see the great novels (and short pieces) you bring to the table.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: