Book Review: Dirty Laundry by Rhys Ford

Dirty Laundry by Rhys FordTitle
: Dirty Laundry
Series: Cole McGinnis, Book 3
Author: Rhys Ford
Genre: Romantic Suspense, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy from author
Published: April 19, 2013 by Dreamspinner Press

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.

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: Outstanding addition to a great series with a romance that continues to be scorching. Combine this with compelling leads, fascinating secondary characters and a strong mystery plot and you get a stellar read.

The Set Up: Private Investigator Cole doesn’t know how his life became an emotional cesspool but with his office manager/surrogate mother still recovering from a gunshot wound, his mysterious half-brother wanting a relationship and his closeted boyfriend’s family drama, his life is emotionally taxing. His professional life is going to kill him if his personal life doesn’t when he takes the case of a Korean fortune-teller whose clients are being murdered.

Why I Read this Book: Though not normally a mystery reader, this series has captivated me. The unique leads and strong romance along with the humorous narration has me hooked.

What I Liked: Cole and Jae don’t have an easy romance. As Cole says, Jae is feral and Cole is willing to take whatever Jae gives. This doesn’t sound like a set up I’d normally enjoy but it’s utterly delicious with its combination of intensity and vulnerability. For example, Jae says to Cole, “Everything you do to me is like a poison I need inside of me…something sweet that peels me apart until my bones ache from the cold air around me.” And Cole thinks, “Hell, if my skin could crawl off of my bones and wrap around Jae’s lean body, it would have.” Whew, pardon me as I blot my brow like a Southern belle! This is a scorching romance that never falls into cloy stereotypes and manages to be fresh even though I’ve read a million MM romances.

What I Also Liked: This book starts with a bang and never lets up. Cole is the quintessential PI with his personal and professional life falling apart but with his biting humorous narration the readers are in for a ride. I’m not normally a fan of first person narration in romance novels but Cole is such a great narrator that I love it here. The book starts with him rescuing the poodle of a little girl who’d hired Cole for the price of a candy bar. What ensues had me giggling from page one and showcases this stellar narration style.

I also love the secondary characters. Too often in MM romance the men are isolated from a community but Jae and Cole have a terrific cast of characters: Cole’s retired-cop-gay-horn-dog best friend, Cole’s surrogate mother and her family who view Cole as one of them, Cole’s bulldog of an older brother and his feisty sister-in-law. New characters are introduced in this book that I’m going to love as well: Jae’s teenage sister and Cole’s Japanese half-brother who wants to have a relationship. This hodgepodge collection of people offers a community for Jae, Cole and the series. I adore all these characters because they offer complex relationships for Cole and Jae besides their romantic relationship with each other.

What I Didn’t Like: Any blog reader knows I’m a New Yorker and as such, have no knowledge of LA beyond a brief visit. So when Cole says, “I fought my way out to the 101, down the freeway, and back across Wilshire” all I can think about is the Saturday Night Live skit “The Californians”—and then I promptly bust a gut laughing. So no, this is no complaint whatsoever about the book but instead is a sad commentary on my brain hyped up on too much pop-culture.

IMO: MM readers will devour this book as I did. This book could be read as a stand-alone but this book offers the emotional pay-off from the first two and they’re nearly as delicious so why not read them in order?

J9’s Rating:
4 1/2 Frogs

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J9’s reviews for other books in this series:
Dirty Kiss 4 frogs
Dirty Secret 4 frogs

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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