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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Desperate Deadly Widows

Series: The Widows #2

By: Kimberly Belle, Layne Fargo, Cate Holahan, Vanessa Lillie

Narrated by: Dina Pearlman, Karissa Vacker, Helen Laser, Ariel Blake

Publisher: Audible Originals


Publication Date: 03/19/2024

Format: Audiobook

My Rating: 5 Stars

The Widows are back! Big hair and bigger lies collide in the highly anticipated follow-up to Audible’s bestselling Young Rich Widows, where nothing’s more dangerous than a widow with nothing left to lose.

Set in neon-drenched Providence, Rhode Island, circa 1987, just two years after a plane carrying four mafia-affiliated law-firm partners exploded over the Atlantic along with the cushy lives of their once-wealthy wives. Now, Krystle fights to keep their fallen law firm afloat. Justine hustles as a lawyer-in-training. Meredith owns and operates the strip club where she once danced. And Camille orchestrates honey-pot schemes for scorned women—until one of her arrangements goes terribly wrong, and she becomes implicated in the debauched Mayor Tom’s mysterious murder in the champagne room. With everything on the line, the widows must join forces once more. But as the conspiracy unravels beyond the mayor's demise, their search for justice pits first wife against second wife and widow against widow. With the widows’ fragile bond now tested, will the women cement their friendships, or is loyalty a luxury they just can’t afford?

In this thrilling expansion of the Widows universe, brimming with sloshed champagne, smeared lipstick, and lethal secrets, Desperate Deadly Widows unfolds as an edge-of-your-seat thriller where desperation wears stilettos, trust is a poker chip, and redemption comes at the cost of everything you thought you knew.

My Review

The four widows return following #1 in the Widows series, Young Rich Widows with #2 the latest thrilling suspense—DESPERATELY DEADLY WIDOWS.

We pick up from the first book with the widows trying to make it in the law firm and a business with some side-off-the-book investigations when one of their own is front and center in a high-profile murder case. The widows must join together to clear their names and find the real murderer.

Edgy, gritty, bold, witty, and suspenseful —a killer audio! There is nothing worse than a desperate widow with nothing to lose!

Set in Providence, Rhode Island, circa 1987, two years after a plane crash carrying four mafia-affiliated law firm partners died. The widows have joined forces to keep the law firm afloat to pay the bills.

Krystle fights to keep their fallen law firm afloat, Justine is in law school soon to become a lawyer at the firm, and Meredith (former striper) has purchased the former Mafia strip club and turned it into an upscale gentleman's Club, The Luna Lounge. It is doing well.

Camille, the southern belle (Sugar), devises a plan to help all the scorned women by tracking down the men and their misdeeds. Tarah, the Mayor's current second wife, needed this for risk assessment.

While representing a wife (an off-the-books case), the goal was to tape the Mayor to see if he was up to no good. Camille was to get Mayor Tom in the Club's champagne room; however, before things get started, the Mayor drinks two flutes of champagne and kills over. DEAD!

Camille had not yet tasted the champagne. She is shocked as she uncorked it. Who tampered with the champagne? She did not touch it, but someone put drugs, toxins, or poison in the champagne that caused the murder. But who?

The widows were doing so well, and now this. How will they prove the club or the women were not involved?

Soon, Camille and later Meredith, the club owner, are blamed, and the other widows must stand behind them and begin their sleuthing/investigation to find the real murderer. Meredith, the Luna Lounge owner, caters to the city's most powerful male clients—she had nothing against the mayor.

Who had the motive to murder Mayor Tom? Who is setting them up to take the fall? They need to keep Nancy and her money as a client at the law firm, hire a criminal attorney, and play both sides of the fence with Tarah.


The first wife, Nancy. (rich Davenforth family money)

The second younger wife, Tarah (has her own money and business)

The son, Harrison

The cocky attorney, Tucker

Any of the strippers or bartenders at the Luna Lounge

Or is it due to the developers who wanted a casino in Providence like Vegas and the tribal land, or the new Paris redevelopment project?

Or someone else?

The widows must again join forces and demonstrate their loyalty to one another. Someone must have been on the inside to put it in the champagne. Who was behind it? Justine, a young mother and law student, gets pulled in, and they all work their investigations to clear their friend before this goes to trial.

They are also trying to play both Nancy and Tarah. The authorities shut down the Luna Lounge, affecting livelihoods. Meredith would never be involved in a plot to murder Mayor Tom.

From investigating, property, burial ground, danger, an inheritance, a Paris redevelopment scheme, manipulation, greed, power, a casino, a proposed convention center, tribal land, a doctor, two wives, and a son—The Mayor had enemies. He had land others wanted, and he switched alliances before his death. Who benefits from murdering the Mayor?

Most suspect the current wife, but she has money. Nancy also comes from money. Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to frame Camille and Meredith. Who planted evidence? As the conspiracy unravels in their search for justice, the four must do their part to bring down the murderer.

DESPERATELY DEADLY WIDOWS is even more exciting than the first book. I loved the audiobook!

The women's hilarious personalities will keep you laughing out loud. Nothing will stop the widows! A dazzling, scandalous thriller and I loved the women's friendship and their support for one another while putting their past differences behind them.

From the 80s, big hair, shoulder pads, lipstick, designer shoes and bags, scandal, lies, coverups, murder, conspiracy, legalities, money, drugs, revenge, politics, crime, attorneys, and a fun, lively group of intelligent, independent, and tenacious women who will NOT go down without a fight (against evil)! They are doing it together.

From riveting suspense, twists, and turns, the mystery unfolds when they discover how many are involved in this web of deceit and murder. Highly recommend!

What a cast of top-notch authors: Kimberly Belle, Layne Fargo, Cate Holahan, Vanessa Lillie, and talented narrators Dina Pearlman, Karissa Vacker, Helen Laser, and Ariel Blake. A stellar performance, perfect for each voice.

Thank you for this well-written sequel! I hope we see more of The Widows! I would also like to see this in an e-book format, as I enjoyed the Conversations with the Authors & Widows in the last book.

Highly entertaining!

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: March 19, 2024

About the Authors

Photo Sara Hanna Photography

Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of eight novels, including The Personal Assistant, The Marriage Lie, a Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist for Best Mystery & Thriller, and the co-authored #1 Audible Original, Young Rich Widows. Her books have been published in dozens of languages and optioned for film and television. Keep up with Kimberly on Facebook (, Twitter (@KimberlySBelle), Instagram (@KimberlySBelle) or via her website at 

Photo Credit: Katharine Hannah

Layne Fargo writes killer books for feminist killjoys. She's the author of the thriller novels TEMPER and THEY NEVER LEARN (currently in development as a television show), and coauthor of the bestselling Audible Original YOUNG RICH WIDOWS. She also co-created, co-hosts, and produces the podcast UNLIKEABLE FEMALE CHARACTERS on Lit Hub Radio. Layne lives in Chicago with a rescue pit bull and cat who are best friends, and the only man she never wants to murder (well, almost never). When she's not plotting twisted stories, she enjoys long walks in the local cemetery, binging trashy TV shows, and spending all her money at indie bookstores.

Catherine "Cate" Holahan is the USA Today bestselling author of The Widower's Wife (August 2016), Lies She Told (Sept. 2017), Dark Turns (November 2015), and One Little Secret (July 9, 2019). An award-winning journalist and former television producer, her articles have appeared in BusinessWeek, The Boston Globe, The Record newspaper, and on many web sites. She is a graduate of Princeton University and lives in New Jersey with her husband, two young daughters, and sometimes-good dog.

Vanessa Lillie is the Amazon Bestselling author of Little Voices, which received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and Best Debuts 2019 by Bolo Books. She's a Board Member of Sisters in Crime and regular contributor to The Providence Journal. Her second thriller, For the Best, was a POPSUGAR Best-of and domestic thriller bestseller. Her coauthored Audible Original, Young Rich Widows, will be released Spring 2022. She's originally from Miami (Mi-am-MUH), Oklahoma and is a member of the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation. She now lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her husband and sloth-obsessed son. Smitten with the smallest state, she enjoys organizing book events and literary happenings in the city's robust creative community. Come hang out with her on Instagram @vanessalillie



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