Marisol Soltero’s life is built on big scores and fast women. From her nightclub she rules over the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago with ruthless calculation. Though everyone knows her as the Queen of Humboldt, Marisol lives part of her life in the shadows. When she hears of an impending assassination attempt against the Governor of Illinois, those shadows threaten to ruin everything she’s built.
Governor Sabrina Sloane has spent her life cleaning up the streets, first as State’s Attorney in Chicago and then as Governor of Illinois. Every criminal to cross her path has ended up behind bars—except one. When that criminal saves her life, she’s forced to shine new light on everything she thought she knew.
As a mutual enemy forces them together, Marisol and Sloane must work as a team in a fight for their lives. Can they overcome their differences and their growing attraction to find their way to freedom? And can Governor Sloane ever bring herself to trust the Queen of Humboldt?
FROM THE AUTHOR
"Confession: I want to star in an action movie.
I was born in 1981, at the beginning of the golden age of action films. With two older brothers and parents who were shockingly open-minded about the movies we could watch, I grew up on a steady diet of emotionally stunted men and their damsels in distress. They had quite an impact on my baby butch brain.
America is obsessed with the idea that the best way for a man to prove his love is to get the crap kicked out of him for his lady. I’ve always been masculine-of-center, so it’s no wonder I identified with those male action stars.
I longed to travel through time to protect Sarah Connor, dying heroically after a single night in her arms.
In the few short hours we spent together, we loved a lifetime.
Watching that, I was the pre-teen embodiment of the heart-eyes emoji. I watched everything I could get my hands on: Top Gun, Die Hard, Speed, Bad Boys, anything and everything with Jean-Claude Van Damme. The more blood, bruises, and bad stunts the better. After all, those minor injuries never seemed to stop them from sealing the deal with their damsels. In fact, the more beat-up the star, the more the leading lady wanted them.
Realistic? No way.
Romantic? Well…also no through the modern lens, but gosh did I eat it up in those days.
Fast forward a few decades and here I am, still identifying with the broken boys of action flicks. Only now I want to see a reflection of myself.
Writing Queen of Humboldt is my foray into the action-packed, blood-soaked stories of my youth. A way to see myself reflected in the stories I love. It follows a masculine-of-center badass (who might be a little emotionally stunted) and the woman she’s loved from afar for years who, like Sarah Connor, does just fine saving herself. They’re two of my favorite characters I’ve ever written. Modern versions of the heroes and heroines of my youth, just way more queer."
Noni M. - This is my first time reading a book by this author. Queen of Humboldt surprised me. At first, when I read the description I thought that the two main characters would be fighting a common enemy on their home turf but boy was I wrong. I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.
The Lesbian Review
The story is told from both Sabrina and Marisol’s perspectives and is nonlinear in that some of the chapters are flashbacks. I found these glimpses into the past to be a great way to introduce some much needed character history as well as helping to understand and sympathize with Marisol. This structure can sometimes be confusing, but Shepard does a great job using this device and I never felt disoriented or lost. It is a pulse pumper with a ton of action that will keep you excitedly flipping the page to see what is coming next.
Orla S. - Wonderful. Spectacularly good. The characters in Queen of Humboldt are very well crafted and even when they are not necessarily at their best, they are still very sympathetic. I would, and indeed will, highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Her ability to capture emotions and reel the reader into her world is part of what makes Tagan Shepard's books so beautiful to read.
Karen R. - Queen of Humboldt does not disappoint. This is a second-chance romance with a dose of opposites attract and almost a taboo feel thrown in for good measure. Be sure to pay attention to the chapter headings where a year is involved, because there are flashbacks interspersed and the timing definitely matters. I don't want to give any of the story away because this one is a doozy. A true roller coaster ride that ends with a bang.
Colleen C. - Well, this came out of left field. I honestly wasn't sure about this one, because of the darker themes it promised, and it is hard to really balance that grit out with some hope. But dang, this is done so well. Marisol's character and life is well plotted, utilizing flashbacks to help slow down the breakneck pace a bit. I love that there are hints for what Marisol is doing in the shadows of her criminal enterprise, but when its revealed, its done so well that it doesn't lose any of its punch. Shepard avoided switching between Marisol's and Sloane's perspectives too much, giving most of the storytelling duties to Marisol, and it works well. Marisol is a compelling narrator and having events playing out through her eyes was great.
This is dark, pretty violent, but is also full of hope and goodness. Sloane and Marisol are well balanced characters, and one of the few examples where they don't have to grow that much to make them compelling. It is well paced, with some really great action sequences, some slower moments, and some truly emotionally impactful ones. This was a lovely surprise, and is quite possibly my favorite book this month.
Leslie S. - This book moves at a million miles per hour with plenty of action and romantic tension. With hints of enemies-to-lovers and the-one-that-got-away mixed with high stakes and espionage, I was hooked. When I finished it, I said out loud, “Aw, man! It’s over? I want more.” Been a minute since a romance has captivated me so completely.
Don’t get me wrong, I usually enjoy them, but I don’t lose myself in them like I did this one. I don’t think I’ve read any of Shepard’s previous works, but I’ll definitely be seeking them out after this one. It definitely made a slow, boring workday go by a lot faster.
Leslie S. - Marisol Soltero has had a tough life, and the criminal underground is the only place she belongs. She rules over the nightclubs and shadier side of Chicago as The Queen of Humboldt with her pick of women. Sabrina Sloane has been cleaning up the streets her whole career, first as a DA and then as Governor of Illinois. During an assignation attempt, the two women’s lives cross paths, drudging up old memories and endangering the life Marisol has built for herself, that is, if they even make it out alive.
This book moves at a million miles per hour with plenty of action and romantic tension. With hints of enemies-to-lovers and the-one-that-got-away mixed with high stakes and espionage, I was hooked. When I finished it, I said out loud, “Aw, man! It’s over? I want more.” Been a minute since a romance has captivated me so completely. I don’t think I’ve read any of Shepard’s previous works, but I’ll definitely be seeking them out after this one.