A soapy romantic saga’s fourth and final volume fares better than its predecessor.
The culmination of the Brandon family story begins where Jones' (Bad Deeds, 2017, etc.) third installment ended: with two main characters collapsed on the pavement, bleeding from gunshot wounds. The final volume in the Dirty Money series is the best paced as it spins toward resolutions for the main romantic couple and their many family members and business associates. When Shane Brandon’s plan to rescue Brandon Enterprises from the Martina drug cartel is derailed by violence, he must pick up the pieces of his shattered family while protecting their billion-dollar empire from a hostile takeover—and protect his beloved Emily, as well. A dangerous missing brother and a newly launched fashion line create their own challenges for Emily. The elder Brandons, Maggie and David, continue to make poor choices that create chaos for their children, but they're never mere caricatures. Because Shane and Emily express emotion through lovemaking, several hot and steamy scenes break the atmosphere of tension that pervades the book, but otherwise their relationship is on autopilot. A dramatic plot propels Shane’s intense emotions, magnified by his first-person narration: “But my body is stiff, and my mind a muddy black hole, where everything is lost but not found.” While Jones (Dirty Rich One Night Stand, 2017, etc.) offers a helpful summary of the series, readers are advised not to start here. The main plot is resolved, but in an afterward, Jones hints at future books revolving around the lives of minor characters.
A satisfying conclusion elevates a dramatic, sexy, but uneven series.