Book Reviews

Dirty Secret (A Cole McGinnis Mystery 2) by Rhys Ford at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Private Investigator / Interracial / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Alex on 15-June-2013

Book Blurb

Loving Kim Jae-Min isn’t always easy: Jae is gun-shy about being openly homosexual. Ex-cop turned private investigator Cole McGinnis doesn’t know any other way to be. Still, he understands where Jae is coming from. Traditional Korean men aren’t gay—at least not usually where people can see them.

But Cole can’t spend too much time unraveling his boyfriend’s issues. He has a job to do. When a singer named Scarlet asks him to help find Park Dae-Hoon, a gay Korean man who disappeared nearly two decades ago, Cole finds himself submerged in the tangled world of rich Korean families, where obligation and politics mean sacrificing happiness to preserve corporate empires. Soon the bodies start piling up without rhyme or reason. With every step Cole takes toward locating Park Dae-Hoon, another person meets their demise—and someone Cole loves could be next on the murderer’s list.



Sequel to Dirty Kiss

Book Review

Wisecracking ex-cop turned PI, Cole McGinnis, is back, and smarter than ever in this action-packed sequel to Dirty Kiss. I loved every minute of this riveting multi-layered story; it still leaves me a bit breathless as I think of its broad scope and hidden depths. First, I’ll say that unless you are Korean, or a K-pop/K-drama lover, remember to take it slow when reading the names of the many Korean characters that grace the pages of this story. Rhys Ford has done an excellent job of making each name distinctive, but recognizing who is who enriches the unfolding of this dramatic exotic mystery. That said, well, let’s get it on.

Still taking on a variety of dubious cases, including some that serve as favors for his close friend Bobby, Cole is now living with his somewhat closeted Korean lover, Jae-Min. The two men have adopted a “the-less-said-the-better” approach regarding their relationship, but neither can deny the palpable heat between them. Despite the aggressive sex, Cole, still unable to read certain of his beautiful lovers’ expressions, fears that he will lose Jae at any moment. He’s utilizing the “I’m here for you if you need me—whenever you need me,” method to win Jae’s trust, despite his desire to simply tie Jae-Min to his bed and never let him go. Jae-min on the other hand, is struggling to fulfill both his familial obligation and his growing need for Cole, without burdening either. His emotional outlets: wild, feral sex with Cole and risky escapades into the ghettos of the city to pursue his art photography.

Although his previous investigation into the world of Korean transplants left Cole with the prize of Jae-Min, when the PI is approached to look into the twenty-year disappearance of a Korean male, he is less than thrilled. He reluctantly agrees because the request comes from Scarlet, the beautiful ladyboy who is partly responsible for the gift of Jae’s presence in his life; Scarlet served as fairy godmother to the men’s fragile relationship in the first book.

Solving a mystery that has only cold leads is near impossible, but enlisting the aid of his usual team, Claudia, Bobby, and brother Mike, Cole gamely begins to investigate. What follows is a wonderful relentless gumshoe-style mystery…with teeth. Cole finds himself battered by intrigue, gunshots, and seemingly senseless deaths, as whoever wants the past to remain hidden manages to stay one step ahead of him at every turn. Multiple storylines kept me guessing and reading ever faster, trying to figure out the culprit. Blackmail schemes, confessions from drunken Koreans, a chilling visit from a Korean chaebol matriarch, a horrific family dinner, and a wedding reception gone wrong, are only some of the unusual, yet action-packed adventures Cole experiences in his dogged chase to gain some ground in a case that is more than what it seems.
New supporting players add additional spice to an already sizzling tale. I, myself was particularly intrigued by William Grey, a silver-haired, buff ex-cop who makes a fleeting, but impactful impression. Characters from the first novel return, fleshed out with vibrant details that add charisma to the captivating world of the Cole McGinnis series.

I cannot go on without thanking the author for the lovely pace of the romance between Cole and Jae-Min. The heartfelt moments of tenderness glimpsed between the steamy passages of sex were exquisite, contributing to the raw, realistic blossoming of their hard won love. The story holds much more enchantment than I can possibly reveal in this review, but I will say this: For me, the story was like a delicious, fat slice of my favorite cake, but the mysterious ending? That was definitely an unexpected and mouthwatering cherry on its top; I cannot wait to read the third book. 

Thank you, Rhys Ford, for another salt of the earth, smart-ass mystery. “Witty, Gritty, Smoking hot pleasure!”





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Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 234 pages/78615 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 28-September-2012
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $14.99 bundle, $19.95 audiobook
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