MtSnow and Wendy co-review Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford. Published by Dreamspinner Press, June 9, 2017. 240 pages
Note: a copy of this book was received in exchange for an honest review.
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.
*Note: This is a novel-length expansion of the original short story found in Charmed & Dangerous anthology. *
Why MtSnow read this story – First off, love anything Asian culture. Second. Rhys. I have enjoyed everything this author has published, so there was no way I was passing up the opportunity to read this early! And it was a fun ride…so much to like!!
Bob the Cat. Family secrets. Dragonflies. Partners with secrets. Details of the locations. Sounds. Smells. Descriptions of Chinatown.
Roku is very resilient. With all that he has been through, I was amazed at his focus and ability to, in his own way, stay true to his beliefs, ability to morph into and hide among the lowliest in Chinatown, but show pure guts at times that would make a regular cop take pause. Honoring his heritage as a halfling fae dragonfly, remembering his Scottish legendary cop mother, and the haunting constant memories from the death of a lover and his two little girls whom he mourns with the 3 black star tattoos on his wrist, at times I was very sad for him.
But with all the action, twists and turns, murder, blood, gore and flat out mayhem, as well as a few surprises that kept changing what we as the reader knew to be true, there wasn’t much time to feel sadness of melancholy for Roku’s life.
Trent Leonard was a pleasant character with some secrets of his own, and very much turned out to be a solid compliment to Roku’s life. He melded in as a partner like he was handpicked for the position, and had Roku’s back every which way he was needed.
The paranormal and magic bits woven throughout the story blended very colorfully and masterfully throughout the San Francisco foggy Chinatown atmosphere. Rhys has a way with Asian culture that always makes me look forward to anything she as up her sleeve, even as she kinda grosses me out with her descriptions of guts and gore.
And Bob the Cat. A perfect combination of meeps and claws (cats can have secrets too..). Creepy fertility statues and nekasu scorpion carvings come to life to tear the innards out of its victims throats. Um. Gross.
As always, an adventure and I really hope this turns into a series. I would LOVE to see the patterns and colors of Roku’s wings done in a painting or tattoo. Gorgeous descriptions and a great pairing with these two characters, with a supporting cast to match (does Ghost get a story? Please??)
Highly recommended! 9.5 of 10 pots of gold equivalent to 95% recommended or 4.75 of 5 stars
Why Wendy read this story: I’ve loved everything that I’ve ever read from Rhys. Her style is fantastic. I was so happy to have the opportunity to co-review this book with Mt. Snow.
The first thing that grabbed my attention with this book was the title. I mean… Dim Sum Asylum? How freaking awesome is that??? The feels start out right away in this story. Rhys Ford knows how to capture our attention… and keep it. Her alternate version of China Town was fantastic as well as the way she can combine fantasy and magic with a great mystery. The story was fast paced with lots of twists and turns. There was humor, sometimes when you least expect it and the suspense and intrigue kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book. I love the magical and mythical creatures she came up with and on top of everything else, the sense of community. That felt like a strong theme to me and it fit with the asianesque (yes, I just made that word up) and mobster culture that this story was built around.
Annnd then there’s Roku and Trent. These guys are both so interesting and I loved learning about them. Neither of them has any idea how to have a relationship be it personal or professional. They let their instincts and their smoking chemistry guide them and it was fun to watch them work everything out. Roku and Trent both have pasts that tug at my heart. I think that anyone with a military or police background sees things that the average person doesn’t and they experience some bad/sad stuff regularly. Roku carries his sadness on his person for everyone to see and is constantly thinking of the family that he lost. He’s damaged but hasn’t given up. I could feel the weight that pressed on him and it makes his character so much more for it. Trent hides his. Not only does he have secrets, but he is just learning how to be his own person from an unusual upbringing. He’s a stand up guy though and that’s what you want in a partner, right?
I hope this is just the beginning for them and this fantastic world that Rhys created because this was a really great book! Besides, I think Bob the cat has things to do and more places to go (and just what is he exactly???).
10 of 10 pots of gold equivalent to 100% recommended or 5 of 5 stars
Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series, including Murder and Mayhem, a 2016 LAMBDA finalist. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.
She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Yoshi, a grumpy tuxedo cat and Tam, a diabetic black pygmy panther, as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people.
Rhys’ Blog: http://www.rhysford.com