Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Mystery Suspense/Urban Fantasy
* Novel-length expansion of original short story found in Charmed & Dangerous anthology. *
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.
Fantasy and Paranormal are not genres I typically read, except when they’re written by a favorite author like Rhys Ford. It also featured a cop, trying to solve a case and I do love a cop story! This is written with her singular style and skill and the world building is just superb. Fairies, dragons, spell casters and crime lords combine for an unusual case of murder. Roku is half human and half fairy, the fairy half from his mother, who was also a police officer. He’s had a tragic past and immerses himself in his job. He works for the Arcane Crimes unit and after the not-so-unfortunate loss of his partner, he’s paired with Trent, new to the unit, who has more questions for Roku, than answers about himself.
The action takes off right from the start, events unfolding at break-neck pace, as bodies fall and the new partners are faced with strange, unknown magic. Roku and Trent must learn to trust and depend on each other amidst the chaos. Written in first-person, from Roku’s POV, this author knows how to do it right. Secondary characters, as well as Trent, are fully fleshed out within the narrative. It was rather complex though and I admit to struggling with the numerous names for creatures and their functions, encountered along the way. Also the complicated relationships between Roku and his family and friends. I think someone more used to sinking into fantastical worlds might have an easier time of it.
The romance did take mostly a back seat seat to the investigation and action sequences. There was palpable sexual tension but it didn’t really go anywhere until later in the book. I really wish just one more sexual encounter had occurred, but alas, it was not to be. It was still a great escapist read, with fascinating twists on the San Francisco landscape and Chinatown. If this pragmatic and analytical reader could unclench enough to enjoy it, it should appeal to almost any fantasy lover.