Fast Lane by Kristen Ashley
Audiobook Narrated by Lance Greenfield, Susannah Jones and Aiden Snow
Stand Alone Fictional Rock Band Retrospective with Romance.
*This review is spoiler-free. I had a lot to say, so if you want the short version, skip down to the Down & Dirty*
When Kristen Ashley announced Fast Lane, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. First of all, Kristen Ashley, THE Rock Chick, writing a Rock Star book was something I always wished for. Though we have had a female rocker, Kristen Ashley’s music-loving soul needs to be released more! So when she said that her inspiration for Fast Lane was Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, I was thrilled, because that was one of my favorite audiobooks ever. (my review)
In the past year my listening to audiobooks has surpassed my reading so much that I find it a little more difficult to read now, but Kristen Ashley books are usually the exception. Not this time. As much as I loved the story, I had a really hard time with the format. It took me about 10 days to read which is crazy for a Kristen Ashley book. BUT then I saw the audiobook on release day and HOLY SHIT, what a difference! I LOVED Fast Lane on audio!
At first I thought it was just too similar to its inspiration, but then I realized how unique the story of Preacher McCade and Lyla was. I LOVED their story, but the first time through I had a bit of a hard time connecting, especially during the first half. Since the story about this band is told via interviews, I felt like it was just telling me about a story rather than me experiencing the story as it unfolds. Though the narrative changes from interviews to flashbacks throughout, I sometimes felt as if the interviews pulled me back just when I was getting into it. But when I listened to it, all of the things I had problems with while reading were gone for the most part. [Takes a sip of water and leans forward] <—most of the commentary like that was stripped for the audiobook which helped a lot, but also having different voices for the characters. I found when reading it I’d be a little confused on who was talking. But listening gave me no such issues.
“Write everything down, kid. Every gig. Every practice. Every song. Every girl. Every city. Every stretch of road. Write it down, ’cause there’ll come a time, you won’t want to forget.”
Told via a series of interviews with some of the most integral members of the Roadmasters family, Fast Lane by Kristen Ashley flashes back over decades, from Jesse starting the band as a teen, to them becoming one of the most famous, iconic rock bands of the 80s/90s.
“There are women who just have… [Pause] Something. Lyla had that.”
Preacher McCade was born to be a rock star and this broken man was a gentleman to the soul. But the day he met Lyla, he was a changed man.
Lyla became the muse, the girl, the mom, the sister. It’s like the band was centered around Lyla as much as it was around Preacher.
“Fuck, never in my wildest imaginings, growin’ up, knowin’ I was nothin’, I’d amount to nothin’, that one day a beautiful, sweet girl like you would be holding my hand.”
There is a reason this book is called Fast Lane…listen to the lyrics. There was a whole lot of sex, drugs and rock & roll, to the point that it became difficult to read at times, but it rings so true to every band of the times. These guys weren’t just lucky, they worked their asses off to be and stay at the top of the charts in a cut-throat business. Being on the road, playing shows every night, easy access to drugs and girls, it’s no wonder these boys succumbed.
“But you want respect,” he says, “you gotta be good at what you do, and to be good at what you do, you gotta practice, you gotta go at it hard, and gotta do it a lot. No one who’s got talent, money and respect gets it pissin’ about and givin’ thirty percent. They earn it because they give it their all.”
Preacher was a wild card. Almost like a polite caged animal, Lyla is the only one who can calm him. She is the glue for all of his pieces and a magnet for the rest of the band. There was nobody else for either of them, but they were slowly destroying each other in the partying 80s/90s and they looked to be on a collision course with implosion.
“It’s the ones who figure out that they have to be in their now. That’s the meaning of life.”
I’m the same age as Kristen Ashley, we seem to have the same taste in music, and I loved all of the song references throughout the book, as well as the flashbacks to my growing-up years. With my older son being a touring musician, and my younger one following in his footsteps, I have been backstage to some huge performances and big bands and have lived with serious musicians for 12 years. I loved that the characters were very true to being a musician with some of it similar to some of the stories I’ve heard and read. I have read so many rock-star romances that don’t ring true, that Fast Lane stood out as being more realistic than most.
- The entire storyline of the band’s beginning and rise to fame.
- Lyla was a perfect KA heroine, and Preacher was a gentle Alpha.
- How she dropped in some lyrics to Life in the Fast Lane.
- The little foreshadowing that went on throughout the book without ever revealing too much.
- The realistic problems the band faced, making it seem even more like a biography.
- I liked the way Jesse and Lyla were the main interviewees rather than jumping around to too many people.
- It wasn’t just interviews, we kind of enter the flashbacks as well and I loved that.
- Despite it being told differently, it still has that KA feel and dialogue.
- The audiobook was amazing, and this is a book that really needs to be read twice, because I caught so much more the second time.
- Despite the story being different, it was still a bit too much like Daisy Jones to me, but I wasn’t left googling the band to see if it was real.
- There was a lot of jumping around, making it tough for me to keep up with the first time through. Just when I’d be getting into a scene, it jumped to another interview. Jesse’s many diversions drove me a little crazy.
- I still found myself wishing I was submerged IN the story as it happens rather than hearing about it via interviews years later.
- The little directions –> [shakes head]. In the audio, these were mostly gone, and really helped me.
- In the audiobook, I would have loved to hear a different narrator (“interviewer”) than Lyla’s voice.
I can’t get over the difference the audiobook made to me for this book. The narrators did a wonderful job of choosing which of the directions to keep and which to take out. I loved that there was a different narrator for Preacher (but gosh, I wish there was more of him because Aiden Snow’s voice….yum). I do wish there was one more narrator for the “interviewer”. This format needs almost a full cast like Daisy Jones. I love Susannah Jones every time, and Lance Greenfield was perfect for Jesse.
The Down & Dirty:
I have very mixed feelings about Fast Lane. What I loved about Daisy Jones and the Six was how unique and different it was, and it also felt so real I googled that the band. Since this is another interview-style book about an iconic rock band, the uniqueness isn’t there, though Kristen Ashley sure put her amazing stamp on it.
The first time I read Fast Lane, I kind of struggled, especially for the first half. I loved the story of the band so much, but it took so long to get there! There were so many diversions, I felt like I had to piece together the story. Jesse, the main interviewee jumped around a lot, and we jumped from a great flashback playing out, back to the interview just when I was getting into it. But if this was real and I was reading it, I would have known some of the band’s background. So listening to it the second time, to me, felt so much more realistic, like I was reading a biography of a band I know and love.
The second time through, I FELL IN LOVE. I actually almost fully read it a second time through while writing my original review for just the Kindle version, and even then, it was way better the second time through. But the audio…the audiobook is TOTALLY the way to go on this book if you listen to audios at all. The format takes a bit of getting used to when you read it (not so much in audio), but give it a chance no matter how you read it, because the heart of the story, the story of Preacher, Lyla, Jesse, and the rest of the guys is so worth it. Their story is actually one of my favorites of Kristen’s, but I still would have preferred it in her normal style. Still, after close to 70 books, I think it’s awesome that she wanted to try something new and different, and I totally loved Preacher, Lyla and the band no matter how they came.
I struggle with this! The first time reading it I was about a 3.5. The second partial re-read upped it to a 4. But the audio would be about a 4.5. I think I will pull it all together for a 4+ Stars, 3 Heat, 4.5 Narration.
Purchase Fast Lane by Kristen Ashley