Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford
M/M Urban Fantasy
Released: June 9, 2017
Reviewed by Tracey
Goodreads 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.
Dim Sum Asylum is a stand alone MM urban fantasy written by Rhys Ford. She originally wrote this as a short story in the anthology Charmed and Dangerous, which I have read, so I was really excited by the news that she was expanding this story in a book. To me, Rhys Ford is pretty much golden, she is one of my go to authors, and her Cole McGinnis series is one of my favorites, along with her Sinner series. When I read the short story that this book is expanded from, I thought it would be cool if she did take it to a book length, both MC’s were interesting enough that I wanted to read more about them and the fantasy world she built. If you love dragons, fae, fantasy, magic, action, hot men having hot sex…this is the book for you. Did I say dragons? Yes…the dragons just really make me happy. It’s a wild ride, but the wildest rides are always the best ones.
The whole story is set in an alternate reality, a weird and wonderful San Francisco, with Roku living and working in Chinatown. He is half human/half fae, and having been born that way, he is pretty much considered a freak. He doesn’t have wings like the rest of the Fae, his are contained in his body. He comes from a cop family, and he is assigned to the Arcane Crimes Division, which is basically the section that deals with magic. He is a loose cannon who can’t seem to keep a partner, through no fault of his own. He lost his husband and daughters to a family member who burned his home down, and he is still emotionally unstable from the trauma. The book starts fast and furious, and doesn’t really ever slow down. There is a tremendous amount of information and characters thrown at the reader, and it could bog some readers down, but being a different reality, there is a lot to be explained. There are dragons guarding the gates of Chinatown, gargoyles coming to life and gleefully spreading sexual urges to the unwary, exploding noodle factories and corrupt cops that need shooting. The bad cop happened to be Roku’s partner, so early in the story we meet his new partner, Trent Leonard. Roku doesn’t want a partner, especially one he doesn’t know or trust. Roku wears a tattoo on his body for every death he feels that he caused, and he doesn’t want any more tattoos. We learn a lot about Roku, his past, his problems…and his cat, even the cat has his own secrets. Your heart just breaks for this man. You GET him, and you feel for him, and you like him.
Romantic suspense is my favorite, and there is plenty of suspense in this book, it’s a definite who done it. It’s well crafted, and the pace is hectic, but somehow right for this story. The romance part of the book, there’s not so much of it. There is good, hot sex, and it happens pretty fast. Both men are immediately attracted to each other, and they do fight the attraction for a while. The sex isn’t a hearts and flowers event, it’s more of a desperate, rough and wild coupling for physical reasons only…not much emotion there at all. But, you do see the tenuous bond forming between the two men, and you can see that the heart will be following the physical needs whether either man wants it or not.. The sexual needs and the desperate attraction between the two men scares them silly…they know it’s not a good idea but the sexual pull is undeniable.
Trent is shrouded in mystery, a blank cipher that Roku doesn’t know what to make of. His character development is a little shallow in comparison to Roku, but I did get enough clues about him to feel empathetic. I’m hoping that this is the beginning of a new series, and Trent’s story is coming in the future. There are a lot of mysterious things about him, but you do understand why his need for Roku is so great. With so much world building, plot development and history to give the reader, it would have been impossible to delve deeper into Trent.
I really did enjoy the book, the action and suspense is well thought out, and I loved the way it involved Roku’s family. I adored Roku, and I really want to get to know Trent better. The characters and world she created is so interesting, I just wanted to keep reading. It seems there was so much action going on that we barely got a whiff of Roku and Trent together. I think there is sufficient content and character development for multiple books, and Roku’s and Trent’s lives and history give plenty of material to delve into and explore. I really, really want more to explore! I think the whole storyline has much, much more to give us, and I really hope Rhys Ford thinks it does too. She sure knows how to leave you wanting more, and I can’t wait to see if she give it to us!!