Review: Rhys Ford – Dirty Heart

24409343Author: Rhys Ford
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press
Genre: M/M Contemporary
ISBN: 9781634770279

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Final book in the Dirty Series arc.

Former LAPD detective Cole McGinnis’s life nearly ended the day his police partner and best friend Ben Pirelli emptied his service weapon into Cole and his then-lover, Rick. Since Ben turned his gun on himself, Cole thought he’d never find out why Ben tried to destroy him.

Years later, Cole has stitched himself back together. Now a private investigator and in love with Jae-Min Kim, a Korean-American photographer he met on a previous case, Cole’s life is back on track—until he discovers Jeff Rollins, a disgraced cop and his first partner, has resurfaced and appears to be working on the wrong side of the law.

As much as Cole’s fought to put the past behind him, he’s soon tangled up in a web of lies, violence, and death. Jeff Rollins is not only trying to kill Cole’s loved ones, he is also scraping open old wounds and long-forgotten memories of the two men Cole loved and lost. Cole is sure Rollins knows why Ben ruined all their lives, but he isn’t looking for answers. Now Cole is caught in a cat-and-mouse game with a cold-blooded killer with the key to not only his past but his future.
Get ready to read the book of the decade! If you have loved Cole McGinnis ever since you got your dirty little fingers on the first dirty book, Dirty Kiss, you will have a love-hate relationship with this book before you even begin. You will love to finally get an answer as to why Ben shot Cole and killed his lover, Rick, and at the same time, you will hate that this amazing series is coming to an end.

The author has asked that those who receive an ARC reveal no spoilers, and I will certainly respect her wishes in this review. What I can say is that there are surprises along the way—both good and bad—and you will laugh and you will cry, probably more of one than the other. There are also some of the most romantic scenes I’ve read in any romance novel ever, and they’re done in the inimitable style of Rhys Ford who is incomparable when it comes to painting pictures with words.

As the story opens, Cole sets out to help his brother with a case on which Mike’s security company is working. It involves one of the many Korean men who seem to be related to Cole’s lover, Jae, but surprisingly, one of the people who surface in the case is a man from the past—Jeff Rollins—the man who was not only Cole’s mentor, but also his lover when Cole first joined the force. Jeff was also the best friend of Ben Pirelli, Cole’s best friend who opened fire on Cole and his lover Rick, killing Rick in Cole’s arms and severely injuring Cole in the process. The entangled weave of storylines begins here with Jeff and takes multiple twists and turns throughout the book, generating tears and some smiles along the way. Jeff seems determined to cause harm to Cole, or is it to his loved ones? Cole has to keep one step ahead of him or it might be his last step.

I am definitely going to miss Cole’s “adopted mother” Claudia, his brother Mike and sister-in-law Maddy, and of course, his best friend Bobby and his lover, Cole’s brother Ichi. Each of these characters has become extended family, and it was wonderful to spend time with them during this story and poignantly painful to know I won’t be seeing them again.

On a light note, and again without spoilers, there is a character in this book named after a real life person, a fun sidebar that crept into the soft spot of my heart when I least expected it. And I can’t let this review go by without thanking Rhys Ford for the many ways she provided emotional closure with this book. The only thing I didn’t like about it is the fact that the saga is ending. It’s a nonstop emotional roller-coaster ride from beginning to end.

I highly recommend this as it’s the finale of one of the all-time best series in MM romance, and of each of the books in the series, this one is the most romantic. Cole and Jae are committed to each other for life and will be together in our hearts forever. If you miss your chance to pick this up, that would be a dirty shame. 



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