Why I read this series: Because I could. 🙂 And I told Rhys that I would. Never mind that I can’t stand not reading an entire series, in order, as soon as I can…
Cole Kenjiro McGinnis, ex-cop and PI, is trying to get over the shooting death of his lover when a supposedly routine investigation lands in his lap. Investigating the apparent suicide of a prominent Korean businessman’s son proves to be anything but ordinary, especially when it introduces Cole to the dead man’s handsome cousin, Kim Jae-Min.
Jae-Min’s cousin had a dirty little secret, the kind that Cole has been familiar with all his life and that Jae-Min is still hiding from his family. The investigation leads Cole from tasteful mansions to seedy lover’s trysts to Dirty Kiss, the place where the rich and discreet go to indulge in desires their traditional-minded families would rather know nothing about.
It also leads Cole McGinnis into Jae-Min’s arms, and that could be a problem. Jae-Min’s cousin’s death is looking less and less like a suicide, and Jae-Min is looking more and more like a target. Cole has already lost one lover to violence—he’s not about to lose Jae-Min too.
Loving Kim Jae-Min isn’t always easy: Jae is gun-shy about being openly homosexual. Ex-cop turned private investigator Cole McGinnis doesn’t know any other way to be. Still, he understands where Jae is coming from. Traditional Korean men aren’t gay—at least not usually where people can see them.
But Cole can’t spend too much time unraveling his boyfriend’s issues. He has a job to do. When a singer named Scarlet asks him to help find Park Dae-Hoon, a gay Korean man who disappeared nearly two decades ago, Cole finds himself submerged in the tangled world of rich Korean families, where obligation and politics mean sacrificing happiness to preserve corporate empires. Soon the bodies start piling up without rhyme or reason. With every step Cole takes toward locating Park Dae-Hoon, another person meets their demise—and someone Cole loves could be next on the murderer’s list.
For ex-cop turned private investigator Cole McGinnis, each day brings a new challenge. Too bad most of them involve pain and death. Claudia, his office manager and surrogate mother, is still recovering from a gunshot, and Cole’s closeted boyfriend, Kim Jae-Min, suddenly finds his teenaged sister dumped in his lap. Meanwhile, Cole has his own sibling problems—most notably, a mysterious half brother from Japan whom his older brother, Mike, is determined they welcome with open arms.
As if his own personal dramas weren’t enough, Cole is approached by Madame Sun, a fortune-teller whose clients have been dying at an alarming rate. Convinced someone is after her customers, she wants the matter investigated, but the police think she’s imagining things. Hoping to put Sun’s mind at ease, Cole takes the case and finds himself plunged into a Gordian knot of lies and betrayal where no one is who they are supposed to be and Death seems to be the only card in Madame Sun’s deck.
Sheila Pinelli needed to be taken out.
Former cop turned private investigator Cole McGinnis never considered committing murder. But six months ago, when Jae-Min’s blood filled his hands and death came knocking at his lover’s door, killing Sheila Pinelli became a definite possibility.
While Sheila lurks in some hidden corner of Los Angeles, Jae and Cole share a bed, a home, and most of all, happiness. They’d survived Jae’s traditional Korean family disowning him and plan on building a new life—preferably one without the threat of Sheila’s return hanging over them.
Thanks to the Santa Monica police mistakenly releasing Sheila following a loitering arrest, Cole finally gets a lead on Sheila’s whereabouts. That is, until the trail goes crazy and he’s thrown into a tangle of drugs, exotic women, and more death. Regardless of the case going sideways, Cole is determined to find the woman he once loved as a sister and get her out of their lives once and for all.
As promised in my review for Dirty Deeds, I’m here to review the Cole McGinnis series by Rhys Ford. First off, thank you for an action-packed detective mystery that is not all about rainbows and kittens but gives a realistic peak at the lives of two men who fall in love with each other and begin their lives together: Cole Kenjiro McGinnis and Kim Jae-Min.
It begins with Dirty Kiss where we meet Cole, an ex-cop and PI investigating the apparent suicide of a Korean businessman’s son and his resulting meeting of the cousin to the dead man, Jae-Min. Desire is apparent between Cole and Jae-Min. But Jae is closeted and can’t help coming back to Cole despite the investigation so close to home and his own desire to do his duty for his Korean family. The action is wonderful with twists and turns as you come to know about Cole and Jae’s world. You want to keep rooting for them despite the problems they are facing with the relationship and the investigation. The investigation completes and the ending is satisfying but in no way is it the end of their story. I must continue the story.
Enter the beginning of Dirty Secret where we find Cole is on a stakeout for another investigation he’s finishing and it’s a continual ride on the Cole and Jae roller coaster. Scarlett, a transgender singer, asks him to investigate the 20-year-old disappearance of Park Dae-Hoon. And the hunt is on while the secrets of the rich Korean families come to light while bodies pile on top of each other. You see the dynamics of an openly gay man trying to work with a closeted one but the love between Cole and Jae is apparent and solidifies. There is a little twist but a good one with the investigation. Cole starts to learn Korean and we find out a surprising new character will enter Cole’s life. And so, left with a slight cliffhanger, but knowing there is another book, I leap to the next book in the series.
Dirty Laundry continues the saga starting with a cast of characters. I didn’t actually look at this until after I read the story but it is helpful to put things in perspective. As Dirty Secret ended, we find out that Cole has a half-brother and Claudia is recovering from her gun-shot wound from Dirty Secret. While Cole deals with the startling revelation of his half-brother and how much Claudia means to him, another investigation finds Cole searching why his client’s clients are turning up murdered. Another roller coaster ride with more twists and turns and a shooting close to home. And because I was emotionally involved in this book more so than the others, I had to stop cold before going to the next once and read some stuff a little lighter.
The first three books I finished in like a couple of days, a week at most. When I stopped, I had to stop for the better part of a month. The emotional response to this series was high and low and left me emotionally challenged. I had to have time to process. And process I did. It speaks to the heart of love and living with different personalities and familial backgrounds. It guts you but you smile through it. I finished my self-imposed hiatus from the series not too long before the Rainbow Gold Reviews Blog opened and I knew I needed to get it done so it could be one of the first reviews to post for the new blog.
So, I dusted off my hiatus hat and finally read Dirty Deeds, the latest in the series as of this posting. See my review published here for its own recommendation. All I can say is that we will see more of Cole and Jae. Because Rhys cannot let it stand at the cliffhanger she had at the end of Dirty Deeds. 🙂 I can’t wait for the next one in the series.
Overall, I give the series a 9 out of 10 pots of gold and would highly recommend reading it. You do need to read it in order and be prepared for some tissue action. Tears will come. It is inevitable. But you will feel very good about reading what is ultimately the very realistic love story of Cole and Jae.
About Rhys Ford:
Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur, a black Pomeranian puffball and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and a purple Bella coffee maker.
And at the Starbucks down the street. No really, they’re 24/7. And a drive-thru. It’s like heaven.
My books can be purchased, folded and first chapters read at Dreamspinner Press.