Monday, December 5, 2022

A Dirty Business by Tijan

She was torn between the job she lived and the man she needed. December 6th. Kings of New York. Kindle Unlimited. A Dirty Business by Tijan.

From New York Times bestselling author Tijan comes a raw, tempestuous romance between the criminal underworld and a parole officer that paints a thin line between right and wrong.

When Jess Montell meets Trace West at a hockey game, she doesn’t know his name or occupation. What she does know is there’s an instant attraction that’s impossible to ignore—or forget. And forgetting is exactly what she wants to do when she learns he’s not just a successful Wall Street suit but the heir to one of New York’s biggest Mafia families.

The last thing Trace needs is a romantic anything with law enforcement, and parole officer Jess has trouble written all over her. Too bad he likes trouble. Especially when it’s a brunette bombshell with attitude and legs for days.

She’s an absolute spitfire, and he wants to stoke that flame.

Trace didn’t ask for the Mafia life. Jess doesn’t want any part of it. They both know it’s safer to stay away, but the temptation is too hard to resist—no matter how great the danger.


Add to Goodreads.


A Dirty Business by Tijan

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Audiobook (US)  ~  Paperback (US)
~ Also Available with KindleUnlimited ~




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆☆
M/F Romance
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

Jess loves her job. She is a parole officer and is good at what she does. She is also a bartender at a popular bar and she's just as good at that job. Jess has not had an easy life. She has a brother who did an unthinkable thing, but she still loves him. Her dad was not the best person either, but he's gone. Her mom, the most abusive person in her life, is someone who Jess can't seem to let go of, despite the abuse she endures.

Jess' boss is a family friend who has loved her since she was small. He has helped her look after her mom too. Also, Jess has a friend who runs a bar who has also helped her with her mom. They have been her surrogate dads. With things turning up the heat, everyone around Jess is suspect.

Trace is a businessman who is incredibly successful. When he first meets Jess, he's intrigued by her ability to be tough and feminine at the same time. She isn't afraid of him. She doesn't know him. Trace gets information on her and is even more intrigued.

Trace's family life is less than ideal too. Family comes before everything. That also means that when someone threatens the family, it's Trace's job to "take care of the issue." With Trace needing to take over more of the family, his uncle, who Trace sees as more of a father, is relying on Trace to keep the family safe and solvent.

Trace and Jess have an uphill battle. Tijan makes the characters interesting, relatable, and complex. I couldn't put the book down and am really looking forward to seeing more. You won't be disappointed in how this story develops.

A Dirty Business is the first installment in the new series, Kings of New York, by Tijan.

Cliffhanger warning.

Jess and Trace have a clandestine meeting in the stairwell at a hockey game, changing the trajectory of their lives. Jess, who daylights as a parole officer, carries her badge even when she's off duty to keep the parolees on the straight and narrow. In her free time, Jess bartends to barely scrape by to take care of her alcoholic mother. By day, Trace works on Wall Street. By blood, Trace is high up in one of the most notorious crime families in New York.

With the glint of her badge, Trace goes from interested in Jess to disgusted. Let's be honest, Trace – you ought to direct that disgust inward, instead of being upset that there are those out there who catch you in the act. Just saying. Weariness of law enforcement would make sense. Disgust is another beast. It's not as if the entitled, privileged Trace is an innocent party being targeted for things outside of his control like many demographics. Eye roll.

As you can see, I wasn't a fan of the loathing aspects. Not pro or con anything, just felt it was unwarranted. Weary, yes. Loathing, no. As the novel unfolds, moral lines blur, just as Jess was afraid would happen, while it has the opposite effect on Trace.

Annoyed with himself, Trace cannot stop thinking of Jess. Do I believe Jess could have moved on after a few stray thoughts toward Trace? Yeah, I do. But Trace was instantly obsessed to stalker degrees. I mean, it was creepy shenanigans to read, and the pages turned at a rapid rate. But it did make me feel empathy toward what Jess was going through too.

Time after time, their lives intersect. Jess is struggling with her uncles (parents' best friends from back in the day) and her mother. Jess's mother is a drunk, but it's the mental instability that takes a toll on Jess. The mental, emotional, and verbal abuse was hard for this reader to stomach. While I felt this dynamic was realistic, there were parts of Jess's backstory that were never explained, as if there was this huge twist that was going to drop out of the air at any moment, but it never happened. So while there was a resolution between Jess and her mother, there was no closure for the reader, since the rage and abuse, along with all the things said and that which was left beneath the surface, was never explored let alone explained. Perhaps in the next installment, but it felt right to give it closure now. The momentum was built, only for it to die out with little to no explanation. Furthermore, the responsibility was accepted by other parties, and I cannot see where Jess's mom would think Jess should shoulder it. I still have no idea why Jess's mother treated Jess as she did, after an entire novel.

The dynamic Trace had with his uncle and their family, his father and sister, and his best friend and his family, along with the strife with the other families was intriguing to unravel. This part of the story took the forefront, thoroughly developed and intriguing, leading to a fast-paced novel.

I was able to spot the main bad guy from the beginning. It would have been more exciting had I not, and less frustrating as well. I just kept thinking how Trace and Ashton were all-knowing yet beyond dim when it came to the bad guy – it was all laid out for them. The other bad guy was a slight twist that I had a gut feeling about, so I enjoyed how that unfolded.

Ashton. Ashton. Ashton. Yes, I cannot wait to read your point of view, but at the same time, I hope there is closure and resolution over an incident, because what was put on the pages wasn't good enough.

The main reason I couldn't give a five-star review is on the character development front. There were times they acted out of character, or far more immature than their age group/education/upbringing/profession, or they acted/reacted to things in a manner that should destroy relationships. A punch isn't enough, let's just put it that way, making Jess go from strong to doormat, be it with her family, Trace, or those in Trace's orbit. Same with Trace, decisive and action-forward in one regard, yet lets things go in the next, things that bite them later.

There were snippets introduced, shown as if important, that were eventually just lost in the shuffle to be forgotten about and never brought up again. These snippets may or may not come up in other installments, but they were written as if they were to be mysteries or twists. Since they were left dangling and barely mentioned, I'm not sure why they were added at all but to distract the reader with a false narrative, same goes with Mom's rage toward Jess.

While I loved every minute of this chaotic story, reading it from cover to cover. Had I read it slower, the issues would have revealed themselves and taken away the entertainment value. I'm a sucker for an angsty trainwreck of a novel, with equally trainwrecked characters – A Dirty Business delivered that in spades.

It doesn't matter how amazingly or poorly plotted, written, and edited a novel is, the true test is if I would do just about anything to get the next installment. In this case, gimme more. Now.

This is the first in a new series – and I really would appreciate book two appearing very soon as I am hooked!

What is really clever about this story is that we know that Trace is not someone that we should like, not in any way, and we are encouraged to see his darkness, and his utter unsuitability for Jess... but it is almost impossible not to want them to work out the many layers of complication. Jess's career as a parole officer excludes her from his orbit – he knows this immediately, and it makes him incredibly angry.

I found the fact that Jess could work in a bar and wear her badge slightly jarring – I am convinced that in the UK that would just not be allowed – but it was quite a clever way for her to keep an eye on her parolees, even if inappropriate to be moonlighting. I found her relationship with her 'uncles' and their dealings with her alcoholic mother very messy and confusing, but I guess it took a level of shine off her character which made it easier for her to be considering Trace at all.

I enjoyed the twists and turns, which are done as always with style by Tijan, and I just love the point where things become clearer, and unexpected plotlines find their way to resolution – at least partially. That moment when Trace becomes potentially a suitable boyfriend for Jess is when you know that your mind has been messed with again by this talented author!

Enjoy, I certainly did!



I needed to forget meeting him, forget talking to him, forget touching him, forget his kisses, forget how I felt with my body over his in his vehicle last night. All of it. Done. The end.


Author Bio

TIJAN is a New York Times bestselling author who writes suspenseful and unpredictable novels. Her characters are strong, intense, and gut-wrenchingly real with a little bit of sass on the side. Tijan began writing after college, and once she started, she was hooked. She's written multi-bestsellers including the Carter Reed Series, the Fallen Crest Series, Ryan's Bed, Enemies, and others. She is currently writing many new books and series with an English cocker she adores.

Connect with Tijan

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  TikTok  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Tijan's Crew


ARC provided by


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of A Dirty Business (Kings of New York #1) by Tijan to read and review.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are reviewed by a blog admin before being published. We thank you for visiting our blog & leaving a comment.