Tia Ja’nae writes an amalgam of things as a playwright, author, and poet. If you look for her work she’s made quite the name for herself in satire but also has a strong presence in indie crime, grime, horror, noir fiction respectively.
Her new novel Ghosts On The Block Never Sleep explores all of those genres and more around Chicago, the hometown where she was born, raised, and lives. Exciting and titillating with the surprise ending you will never be ready for, this novel is by far one of the most slept on independent releases of the year.
Ghosts On The Block Never Sleep is a non-stop, page turning, rebellious novel without a pause.
An adventurously yet criminally noir political thriller with elements of horror, the novel tells the tale of an unnamed female car parts thief who is doing odd jobs for a Chicago fence to survive losing her legitimate job as a career trades butcher. She’s careful because she’s looking out for her family and trying to pull her own weight by not being a dependent but not too careful enough to get caught or not have her skills in demand.
One more job for her employers turns into one last job for her, until her skills in both the civilian and underground world draw the attention of a corrupt city alderman that refuses to let her retire in peace. That’s right, there’s a politician with their boot on the little woman trying to survive. With nowhere to run and nowhere to hide she has to make the tough choices to die another day if she’s brave enough to keep the stone face that has gotten her through her various tribulations.
The best element of the novel are the side stories. At first glance they seem insignificant, such as new neighbors moving in and really not focused on, but as the novel unfolds it becomes all too apparent that the Butterfly effect is in full bloom. In a good pace all is revealed of the significance of anyone that seems like they are in the book as filler. Every single person has a role to play, and without giving away spoilers, just know even cameo appearances by characters that never are seen again have purpose that bring the story to its disturbing conclusion.
The careful character development of the unnamed female car parts thief was excellent and brought more depth into the motivations of her actions. She lives by her own code. While a thief she doesn’t lie or takes more than what she feels is due of her. Refreshingly, she prefers to be a lover and not a killer in den of predators running around the street jungle. Her humanity and willingness not to succumb to the heartless selfishness of street life makes her likable. She’s just a person that wound up in a bad situation completely out of her control and by default relatable.
I won’t spoil the last five chapters of the novel but I can guarantee on good authority you won’t put it down until you finish.
Originally published by Uncle B. Publications, LLC., the novel is one of the best novels of the year. Finding the novel is no easy task. The infamy that surrounds it since its release Black Friday has made it an undeclared cult classic in its own right. Long story short, due to issues with the publisher’s distributor (an Amazon company) with deliberately censoring the novel and other issues upon its initial release a spiral of rumored litigation and shadow banishment occurred.
Per several public statements by the author and the publisher on their respective twitter accounts, all solo works of the author have been removed from Amazon and affiliate marketplaces, both in stores and online. All previous works she’s published both in print and digital compilations are still available at bookstores and online with the publishers that directly sell copies.
Despite the setbacks, Tia Ja’nae has been anything but one of the ghosts on the block this year, keeping a tight schedule this year. Besides a stream of nominations for her novel, short stories, and her novel in various genres respectively she’s won a Chinaski Award, given by the Independent Fiction Alliance, a indie writing organization.
She’s is one of the upcoming featured writers in the Hugo nominated sci-fi fantasy publication Cirsova Magazine; one of her twisted tales of Chicago horror will debut next month in Retreats From Oblivion. Tia Ja’nae also keeps up her satire, updating regularly at her online haunt Articulate Madness.
Adding to her busy schedule will be an appearance at Noir Con Friday, October 21, 2022 through Sunday, October 23, 2022. After a hiatus due to the pandemic, the Philadelphia based three-day symposium returns, celebrating noir in all its artistic incarnations with live and pre-recorded events, including panel discussions, award ceremonies, author talks, art exhibitions, movie screenings, and more. This year’s event will be broadcast virtual; details for registration and scheduling are on their site Noir Con site.
You can find Tia Ja’nae online mostly on Twitter @articul8madness and at this year’s NoirCon 2022 as one of their featured authors.