Roku MacCormick of the Chinatown Arcane Crimes Division has just returned to active duty after a case goes terribly wrong. Now he is paired up with a newbie partner, Trent Leonard, a guy who just screams former military but has no real experience with Chinatown or arcane magic. The guys are immediately tasked with tracking down an animated fertility statue come to life, one that is wreaking havoc all over town.
Tracking the statue turns out to be more dangerous than either man anticipates, but that is just the first in a series of strange and deadly magical events that indicate a highly skilled practitioner at work. As they dig further into the crimes, Roku finds that all paths seem to be leading back to him, as well as to his crime syndicate family. Roku has nothing to do with his grandfather or his business, but that doesn’t stop someone from seemingly trying to kill him. On top of it all, the sexual tension between Roku and Trent heats up, and even though Roku knows getting involved with the man is a bad idea, he can’t seem to stop his feelings for his sexy partner.
Now Trent and Roku must figure out who is behind the attacks, why Roku’s family is involved, and stop the killer before more lives are lost, including their own.
Dim Sum Asylum was originally released as a short story in the fabulous Charmed and Dangerous anthology. The anthology is wonderful with lots of great stories, many of which have either led into series, or been expanded to create full length stories like this one. I really enjoyed the original short and noted how much I would love to see more stories set in this world, so I was really thrilled to find Ford had expanded it into novel-length story.
What struck me most the first time, and again in this book, is the fabulous world building. Ford has created a San Francisco, and particularly a Chinatown, that are similar to our world, but filled with magic and supernatural creatures. There are fae (Roku himself is a rare naturally born human/fae hybrid), along with dragons and a host of other beings. Roku and Trent work for Arcane Crimes, a division focused on magic and supernatural crimes. The world is so creative and inventive, and almost shockingly detailed. Ford manages to infused every element of the story with a touch of the supernatural and I found myself totally drawn in.
The mystery itself is well developed as well. I love the way Ford has taken the short story and expanded it. There roots of the original story are still here, but it is now so much more. I really enjoyed seeing the guys investigate, especially as the case intersects with Roku’s family life and we get more insight into him. It is exciting and twisty and I never saw the ending coming.
I also enjoyed Roku and Trent together. Trent may be new to being a cop, but he is not without his skills and the two make a good team. There is immediate chemistry between them and things develop nicely on the relationship side. The romance worked well for me, and I think Ford does a nice job giving primary focus to the suspense end, but still making the romance well developed and the characters appealing. I would have liked to get to know Trent more here. We learn some fascinating things about him, but I feel like we are barely getting started and I wanted to know more about his background. We were left with some unanswered questions, as well as a backstory that didn’t feel fully fleshed out.
So this is a book that I really loved and I am so glad to see it made into a full-length novel. I would love to see Ford continue this on to a series because I think there are lots of great things that could be done with these characters and this world. So definite a great story and one that I would recommend, especially to urban fantasy fans.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.