By Tqwana B.
4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆
Cole Kenjiro McGinnis, ex-cop and PI, is trying to get over the shooting death of his lover when a supposedly routine investigation lands in his lap. Investigating the apparent suicide of a prominent Korean businessman’s son proves to be anything but ordinary, especially when it introduces Cole to the dead man’s handsome cousin, Kim Jae-Min.
Jae-Min’s cousin had a dirty little secret, the kind that Cole has been familiar with all his life and that Jae-Min is still hiding from his family. The investigation leads Cole from tasteful mansions to seedy lover s trysts to Dirty Kiss, the place where the rich and discreet go to indulge in desires their traditional-minded families would rather know nothing about.
It also leads Cole McGinnis into Jae-Min’s arms, and that could be a problem. The death of Jae-Min’s cousin is looking less and less like a suicide, and Jae-Min is looking more and more like a target. Cole has already lost one lover to violence he’s not about to lose Jae-Min too.
Dirty Kiss is a fun, sexy, suspenseful read, with moments of hilarity right from the very first page. The visual of Cole being chased by a shotgun-wielding 70 year old woman, dressed in lingerie. Ford is also great at witty banter between Cole and his brother, as well as his former cop friend Bobby. And just when you think you know who did it and why, Rhys Ford surprises you with the killer and the true motive.
Without you even noticing much, Dirty Kiss also tackles the issues of men living on the DL, as well as homophobia within minority communities, and the good and bad of cultural assimilation. Half-Japanese, half Irish Cole only identifies with one part of his ethnicity for various reasons. Love interest Jae challenges him on that several time throughout the book.
The real draw of this series will be the one case Cole can’t crack — his own. It’s not just about dealing with his boyfriend’s murder and his own near-death in the same attack, it’s the motive of the person who shot him, someone he considered his best friend. And one whose suicide keep Cole from finding closure. Watching Cole come to terms with that and hopefully getting answers is motivation enough to continue the series.