Saturday, April 6, 2013

SUSAN: BOOK REVIEW - "Dirty Laundry" by Rhys Ford

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.

The 3rd book in the Cole McGinnis series and, thankfully, the least confusing! Don't get me wrong, there are still the myriad of Korean characters with their very similar names. But, either I'm getting used to the way the author peppers these characters around in her book OR I'm better at ignoring those times I can't remember who is who.

In any case, the series continues with, again, a solid (if a little over-the-top) mystery plot about 2 Korean fortune tellers and a string of murders. It also progresses the relationship between our MC's Cole & Jae. They've finally professed that they "saranghae" (love, in Korean) each other and are building on the fragile foundation they've established the first two books. 

Couple beefs: 
1. There just isn't enough of Cole and Jae together. Jae has pretty much faded to the back as a side character and exists mostly in Cole's thoughts of missing him or his comparisons of everything he sees/encounters with Jae's lips/ass/jeans etc. I was tempted, at times to skim to their parts. The bits that are of the two of them are both emotional (happy and painful) and erotic (very hot). Need more.

2. Cole turned into a Harlequin romance novelist or something. Since this book is in 1st person POV, it started to get really, really sappy when Cole would go on and on in his head describing...everything. And if it had to do with Jae...geez...don't get me started on the how everything came across as an old-fashioned sonnet or a cheesy 80's love ballad. 

3. Lastly, the final chapter and epilogue were shocking and exciting, but felt totally out-of-place and I really didn't know why they were included in this book. 

Now, Rhys Ford CLEARLY has done her research when it comes to Korean-American culture, and especially that which exists in Los Angeles. Her descriptions of both the people and the town are SPOT ON. However, I wonder if, had I not been Korean or had I not lived in Los Angeles, I would have understood what she was talking about and why she had to go into such minute, of not inconsequential, detail. 

I really do like Cole and Jae as MC's and part of me wants to read more of them. The other part of me feels like maybe the series has run its course and there's not much more of a story to tell.

Guess we'll wait and see what Ms. Ford has up her sleeve...

Recommended if you liked the first 2 books. If you were on the fence, I wouldn't say it's a "must read".

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