* Novel-length expansion of original short story found in Charmed & Dangerous anthology. *
Welcome to Dim Sum Asylum: a San Francisco where it’s a ho-hum kind of case when a cop has to chase down an enchanted two-foot-tall shrine god statue with an impressive Fu Manchu mustache that’s running around Chinatown, trolling sex magic and chaos in its wake.
Senior Inspector Roku MacCormick of the Chinatown Arcane Crimes Division faces a pile of challenges far beyond his human-faerie heritage, snarling dragons guarding C-Town’s multiple gates, and exploding noodle factories. After a case goes sideways, Roku is saddled with Trent Leonard, a new partner he can’t trust, to add to the crime syndicate family he doesn’t want and a spell-casting serial killer he desperately needs to find.
While Roku would rather stay home with Bob the Cat and whiskey himself to sleep, he puts on his badge and gun every day, determined to serve and protect the city he loves. When Chinatown’s dark mystical underworld makes his life hell and the case turns deadly, Trent guards Roku’s back and, if Trent can be believed, his heart… even if from what Roku can see, Trent is as dangerous as the monsters and criminals they’re sworn to bring down.
While we’ve reviewed this book on the site before, I feel that – with the listening – I wanted to amend some things.
First, as was said before – this is another great example of how Rhys Ford has a crazy wonderful imagination and an absolutely awe-inspiring talent for description.
She has created a fully developed, intricate and unique new world here and manages to give the reader/listener the set up without an “info dump”. This is a rare and wonderful gift.
Rhys is also amazing at metaphors and descriptions that make the reader/listener hear, feel, smell, taste and touch the story she is creating. I can think of few writers who match her in this skill.
What I didn’t focus on as I was reading it – and that is the magic of audiobooks – they really can change your impression of a story – is how DARK it is. Every day it rained, every day poor Roku got injured again and again – every day we were reminded of the death and destruction in Roku’s world.
The other part I didn’t quite “see” when I was reading this was how little the relationship between Roku and Trent really develops – even by the end.
I guess, when I was reading this, I must have skimmed all the violence and focused on the very cute and funny relationship parts and my brain gave them more weight. Upon re-visiting this, the main story is really about Roku and his struggles in the world and his relationship with Trent is a small part of this.
If this were to be expanded to a series I could see the relationship deepening and becoming more of a “thing” but as it stands I think I’d call this Romantic Fiction more than a romance – because the mystery and the main character development supersede the romance – IMHO.
It was still an amazing story that absolutely enthralls the reader/listener – but it wasn’t as romantic as I’d remembered.
Greg and Rhys are a powerhouse team and he was absolutely the best choice for this narration! He’s got all those Chinese and Japanese words down and they flow effortlessly off his tongue. I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn’t Rhys’ other series – Cole McGinnis – because Trent reminded me so much of Bobby – both in voice and characterization! In a way this is kind of a paranormal Cole McGinnis – and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all!
In any case, this was an amazing way to experience this fantastic story and highly recommended to fans of the author, urban fantasy and romantic crime stories.
4.5 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review