Title: Dim Sum Asylum
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 240 Pages
Category: Urban Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense
At a Glance: I happily lost myself in the raucous action and well crafted mystery elements of this incredible novel.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: 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.
Review: I will freely admit that Rhys Ford is one of my go to authors. Her stories are rich in descriptive prose, and her characters more tightly wound than seems possible. But even though they may be work when it comes to loving them, or establishing a relationship, her men are also well worth pursuing for they are so often loyal to a fault and fully invest themselves in whomever finally manages to pin them down and capture their hearts. And so it is with Roku MacCormick, the half human, half fae detective of the Arcane Crimes Division. Having recently lost his family, husband and two daughters, to a violent end, Roku is barely hanging on to his sanity–not to mention his bleeding heart. After shooting his corrupt partner on a job that was meant to go smoothly, Roku receives a new partner, Trent Leonard, who ends up having a few secrets of his own.
The two are pursuing a murder spree brought on by what appears to be animated religious relics. In a place where such things are rather commonplace, and creatures of every size and sort mingle with the human race, the relics are hardly out of place until a pattern emerges and Roku realizes that the target is not some random person but he, himself. Mix in his affiliation with a grandfather who runs the Chinese mafia, and an extended family who wish him dead, and Roku is obviously having a decidedly bad day.
A Rhys Ford paranormal novel is never a standard issue, run of the mill story. Her characters are often unique, either in their genetic makeup or their circumstances. Roku is no different. However, this novel’s setting was a bit daunting even for a diehard fan such as me. With multiple characters introduced in a fairly rapid onset, as well as names, descriptions and certain phrases used being in a language that was not immediately recognizable to this reviewer, I found myself getting mired down in understanding what Roku was talking about some of the time. I know that this novel was an expansion of a previously published short story, and perhaps I should have read that first; however, despite being occasionally mystified as to what was being discussed, I still happily lost myself in the raucous action and well crafted mystery elements of this incredible novel.
Roku was essentially emotionally bleeding out from the beginning to end of this book. He wears the deaths of those he feels responsible for on his very body via tattoos that remind him of each and every loss he has experienced. Being half fae but wingless and not quite as typical when it comes to fae-like qualities, he is also somewhat of an anomaly in his own community, such as it is. He is driven at work because it keeps the past at bay—when you are exhausted it is easy not to dwell on what you have lost—and believe me, Roku has lost much and it is heartbreaking. Still, you get the sense that others in his department in the Dim Sum Asylum respect him and like him, and that, in a quirky way, gives the reader some sense of relief that someone is looking out after our hero.
While I felt Trent was a bit shallow in terms of character development, I still got enough of a sense of who he was and what he was missing in his life that the connection he sought with Roku, romantically, made sense. If you go looking for some sweet emotional moment between these two guys, look again, for theirs is more of a relationship forged in need—both physical and mental. You get a glimpse that the heart is sure to follow here, but it begins as more of a frantic, desperate coupling between these two men that is tenuous and yet insanely wanted by both, even though it scares the hell out of them.
Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford is a full on action-thriller complete with a newly crafted paranormal world that never ceases to surprise the reader. A roller coaster ride best describes the feel to this novel, but it’s a ride well taken nonetheless.
You can buy Dim Sum Asylum here: