Book Review: Dirty Secret by Rhys Ford

Title: Dirty SecretDirty Secret by Rhys Ford
Series: Cole McGinnis, Book 2
Author: Rhys Ford
Genre: Romantic Suspense, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy from publisher
Published: September 28, 2012 by Dreamspinner Press  

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.
Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: Continuation of a great MM romance with a strong mystery set against the interesting backdrop of LA’s Korean-American community.

The Set Up: Cole’s lover, Jae, still keeps their lives secret since traditional Korean men aren’t gay. Cole can’t be worried about that too much since his latest job involves a missing gay Korean and may end up getting Cole killed. As Cole navigates the tangled world of upper-class Korean-American families, the bodies pile up and his relationship with Jae changes yet again.

Why I Read this Book: I really enjoyed book one in the series (my review) and had to see what Cole and Jae are up to now.

What I Liked: Cole continues to be an excellent narrator. His “baggage” as he calls it is weighty but his attempts at getting his life together will suck readers in. Cole’s relationship with Jae progresses in baby steps but the great thing is Jae finally gets Cole to understand what being Korean-American means for their relationship. To me, this is a stellar exploration of a couple navigating really heavy relationship issues and doing it with love (and sex!)

Cole’s relationships with his family, his brother, and his best friend (a retired gay cop) are also fully explored in this novel and enrich the novel greatly. But best of all is Cole’s relationship with his secretary who acts as his pseudo-mother. I can’t tell you what happens here but it gave even me the sniffles and I can’t wait to read more about Cole’s life with his misfit family-of-choice.

What I Also Liked: Cole’s missing person investigation is also well written. This author doesn’t just write romance, he/she writes a damn fine mystery too. I had no idea how this part of the story would resolve but I loved the way it did, primarily because it wasn’t neat or easy.

I have to acknowledge I have no idea if the author’s Korean-American setting is factual but I loved it. The tangled families and the manipulation would rival a good Italian mob movie and it kept my attention. This plot is full of intrigue, back-stabbing, family duty and sexual secrets—what’s not to love?!

What I Didn’t Like: I’d like a little more progression of Jae and Cole’s relationship than what I got but I’ll just await book three like all the other readers.

IMO: Great continuation of the series with strong, sexy romance and brilliant mystery plot. Don’t read this without reading book one though or you won’t get the full enjoyment.

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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