This intense mystery combines suspense, eroticism, and a glimpse of an exotic culture that is distressingly intolerant of gays yet has developed elaborate systems of coping. The scars that each of the main characters bear, whether visible or not, complicates the sometimes awkward dance of attraction that ensues and the end of the story is not as well resolved as I would have hoped. I have subsequently discovered that this story is the beginning of a series.
There are interesting secondary characters, including a remarkable cross-dresser known as Scarlet, and great evocation of the atmosphere surrounding the club that is at the center of the investigation, but I was a bit uncomfortable with the characterization of Cole. It seems that he is half-Japanese and half-Irish, but nobody seems to really acknowledge his Asian background and he is woefully ignorant of nuances of the Asian culture, not to mention proper investigative techniques, and seems to bounce back from his serious injuries remarkably well, particularly when his libido is roused. There are nice twists and turns, but the story was a bit jerky to me and I had trouble establishing a connection to the main characters, even though I sympathize for the trauma that they have experienced. I would like to get to know more about these guys, but given Cole’s penchant for blundering into dangerous situations, one hopes that he develops a better tendency for self-preservation, otherwise it will be an awfully short series!
“Dirty Kiss” by Rhys Ford is the first book in the ‘Cole McGinnis’ series and is a m/m romantic suspense tale that centers around the investigation into an apparent suicide that ensnares mixed heritage private investigator Cole McGinnis in a case involving many pitfalls for one unaware of Korean mores. Cole’s discovery that his own family issues about his sexuality almost pale in comparison to the deceased’s family’s reaction to gays makes his investigation even more tortuous. The intense attraction he feels for one of the family members, Jae-Min, is complicated by the cultural and familial rejection of his preferences. The search for the truth becomes increasingly risky, to both Cole’s life and heart, and it turns out this is one challenge he may not survive intact.
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.