The latest First Reads Goodreads giveaway novel this pedometer geek read was an Advance Uncorrected Proof of Lisa Renee Jones’ Bad Deeds, a Dirty Money novel. Knowing that it was an uncorrected proof, it became easy to overlook the many tiny errors and typos, which this reader presumes were corrected in the final published novel. This is the extended review.
By Lisa Renee Jones
Published by St. Martin’s Press, 2017
Knowing that this was the third book in the series, this reader took the time to read the two previous books (Hard Rules and Damage Control) prior to reading this one. This was fortunate because there is no way to jump into this series at this point; it is absolutely necessary to read the first two (and the author posts a disclaimer to this fact, at least in the copy I had. On the other hand, she also gives a quick recap of the previous two novels ending with picking up where this one begins as well as includes a list of the main characters with pertinent information about each). Because they were read several months earlier, there were enough details that were forgotten. I don’t think the same would be true if read sequentially, one right after the other.
Regardless, this novel continues the love story of Shane Brandon and Emily Stevens. It also continues Shane’s and Derek’s power struggle for control of their family business, Brandon Industries. Much of the struggle is over whether the business remains legitimate or continues down a dark road that involves illegal drugs and the Martina drug cartel.
Like the previous two novels in the series, there is the love-hate relationship between the brothers; there are also their father and mother, who both know how to pull strings of their own. Added to this, there is deceit, there is sex, there is money, and there are double crosses (and plenty of unsavory characters). And no one in the family is safe from the machinations of others, both inside and out (of the family). This includes Emily, who has secrets of her own.
The comparison to a chess game (as is shown on the cover) is highly appropriate as the pieces (read: characters) change with each move. Who will win? Who will lose? (Including who will live and who will die?)
Written from the perspectives of Shane, Emily, and Derek, Jones finishes the novel with a dramatic cliffhanger (and according to the note addressed to her readers, even she wasn’t sure what was next for Shane, Emily, Derek, and the others). It is to be hoped that End Game, the final book of the Dirty Money series, will answer these questions. All I know for sure is that I have plans to read it as soon as I can get my hands on a copy because I have to know how all the dangling threads will be stitched up. (And yes, it has been ordered.)
These were the first of her novels I have read, but they probably won’t be the last. This novel, as well as the previous two, has complex characters with emotional depth. There are some adult situations and language, too. I suspect her other series might be the same.