Book Review: Dirty Kiss by Rhys Ford

Title: Dirty KissDirty Kiss by Rhys Ford 
Series: Cole McGinnis, Book 1
Author: Rhys Ford
Genre: Romantic Suspense, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy from publisher
Published: July 1, 2011 by Dreamspinner Press

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.
Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: Compelling mystery with stellar private detective lead and his mysterious Korean-American love interest.

The Set Up: Cole is an ex-cop private investigator who’s still recovering from his lover’s murder and his near death. When Cole’s brother asks him to investigate a mysterious suicide of a high society Korean man found in a gay bordello, he meets Jae-Min, the dead man’s cousin. Jae and Cole’s attraction can’t be ignored but the killer doesn’t want the mystery uncovered and will threaten Cole and Jae as well.

Why I Read this Book: This is a very popular MM two-book series on Goodreads so I had to try it.

What I Liked: Cole, pure and simple. He’s a stellar lead for both the romance and the mystery. Cole is the classic P.I. in that he’s struggling with his personal demons as well as trying to solve a case. His personal demons include his lover’s shooting, his own near-death involvement and how it relates to his police partner. Cole’s relationships with those around him are also very complicated and I loved that: his family, his best friend, and his surrogate mother/secretary. Since this novel is told first person by Cole readers are privy to his charming narration style which includes humor and witticisms that I loved.

The romance between Cole and Jae is slow to develop but fits both the wary Jae and the reluctant Cole. The eroticism was more than I thought there would be but given that I liked these two characters it totally worked. The emotional intensity is touched upon but given that Jae and Cole will be a series’ couple, it was okay that they didn’t put all their chips on the table in this book.

What I Also Liked: This mystery has a very film noir feel to it. Though modern day, this could easily be set in the classic film noir age of the 1940’s L.A. and I loved it. The gritty city and the unique people create an atmosphere that I adored and think others will too. I should also mention that this book is set in the Korean-American culture in L.A. and I think it struck a perfect balance of showcasing the unique culture and still be accessible to those not familiar with the culture, such as myself. I’m a bit of a foodie and this book made me long for some authentic Korean food!

What I Didn’t Like: Since this book is told-first person by Cole, Jae stays a mystery. I think this works well at the beginning when the two men are first meeting and Cole is rightly skeptical of Jae’s involvement with the murder but it kept Jae at a distance from readers the entire book. I’m sure this intentional by the author since as Cole says, Jae is like a feral cat and if Cole, his lover, feels this way, than it’s appropriate that readers do too.

IMO: This is a great romantic suspense novel with a gritty film noir atmosphere and a sexy, heartfelt romance. Any MM fan will be glad they read this as I was and look forward to book two.

J9’s Rating:
4 Frogs

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About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


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