Tag Team Review: Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford

Welcome to Dim Sum Asylum: a San Francisco where it’s a ho-hum kind of case when a cop has to chase down an enchanted two-foot-tall shrine god statue with an impressive Fu Manchu mustache that's running around Chinatown, trolling sex magic and chaos in its wake.

Senior Inspector Roku MacCormick of the Chinatown Arcane Crimes Division faces a pile of challenges far beyond his human-faerie heritage, snarling dragons guarding C-Town’s multiple gates, and exploding noodle factories. After a case goes sideways, Roku is saddled with Trent Leonard, a new partner he can’t trust, to add to the crime syndicate family he doesn’t want and a spell-casting serial killer he desperately needs to find.

While Roku would rather stay home with Bob the Cat and whiskey himself to sleep, he puts on his badge and gun every day, determined to serve and protect the city he loves. When Chinatown’s dark mystical underworld makes his life hell and the case turns deadly, Trent guards Roku’s back and, if Trent can be believed, his heart... even if from what Roku can see, Trent is as dangerous as the monsters and criminals they’re sworn to bring down.

* Novel-length expansion of original short story found in Charmed & Dangerous anthology. *


Adam - 3 Hearts

I read the original short story in the Charmed and Dangerous anthology and I liked it well enough. Like the short, this expanded version delivers on the worldbuilding and crime mystery, though it’s light on the romance.

The book is told through the POV of Roku MacCormick, an inspector with the Chinatown Arcane Crime Division. Though he comes off as sarcastic and distant, it’s a facade he uses to deal with his painful past. His tragic backstory is revealed in stages throughout the book.

Roku’s teamed with newcomer Trent Leonard. Trent is Roku’s complete opposite - polished, by-the-book, and wholly unfamiliar with the intricacies of Chinatown politics. The two clash from the beginning, but there’s also an undeniable attraction simmering between them.

As always with Rhys Ford, the mystery was complex and very entertaining. It’s a rollercoaster of arcane magic, murder, mobster politics, and decades-old family feuds.

At first, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the different dangerous scenarios that Trent and Roku find themselves in. However, as the story progresses, the web that Rhys Ford weaves begins making more sense.

The build-up is slow, but the big conclusion was explosive and kept me on the edge of my seat.

Where this book really shines is the worldbuilding. Rhys Ford creates an alternative universe San Francisco in which different mythical beings live alongside humans, and magic is a common part of life. I really enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the city and its inhabitants.

The romance between Roku and Trent plays second fiddle for most of the book. There’s an immediate attraction between them, but they’re too busy dealing with the investigation to explore it.

Even so, the relationship borders on insta-love. Within a couple of days, both Trent and Roku think they’d be good together in the long-haul. I’m not a fan of insta-love, but I could appreciate that Roku and Trent fit well together. Ultimately though, the romance was just lukewarm.

Also, I would have liked to read Trent’s POV. His backstory is even more complex than Roku’s, so I would have liked more insight on that.

Overall, I enjoyed ‘Dim Sum Asylum.’ The romance wasn’t stellar, but the worldbuilding and mystery kept me reading.

Sara - 5 Hearts

How in the hell do I review this and make any sense? Wow. My mind is full and totally blown from this world Rhys Ford created. I am not sure I will do this book justice but I’m going to try.

First, I never read the short in the Charmed and Dangerous anthology so I have no comparison between the two. I will say I am so damn happy I read this full length story first because with the want I have of more from this world, a short would have left me a total mess.


We meet Senior Inspector Roku MacCormick as he is chasing down his current partner who has stolen dragon eggs. Not only is Roku chasing him through the incredible streets of fantastical Chinatown but a group of flying lizards as well who want their eggs back. Shit goes down, Roku saves the eggs but a life is lost in the process. The life is one that is fae, just like Roku is part fae. Why is that important? Because it’s the backbone of this story.

This world, where magical creatures and magic itself exist in today’s San Francisco as we know it was amazing. Ford gives you every detail of the scenes in cinematic storytelling that you are instantly transported to this new world and swear you can smell the wonton soup as you walk down the crowded streets full of mystical creatures. Oh and this world, these creatures? Roku is half fae, a naturally born half breed of faery and human that lives basically in a half state of… everything in his life. Roku is a good cop, he’s amazing at what he does though with a recent loss to his family, he’s become a bit of a lethal weapon, not caring what happens to him as long as the bad guys go down. But Roku carries the weight of this loss not only through stars on his wrist and clusters on his back but with the heaviest chip on his shoulder and guilt on his soul.

When Roku is assigned a new partner courtesy of Captain Gaines who is also his godfather, Roku’s life gets flipped, turned upside down to a place he never knew he could go or one he’s not sure he even wants to.

Let me get my love for Roku’s new partner Trent Leonard out of the way real quick because this man is everything and even more when the contacts come off. I know, that made no sense but it totally will when you read the book. Trust me. Trent is this mystery, this beautiful Nordic mystery of a large and gorgeous man who has secrets but is so damn sexy you forgive him anything. Not that the secrets are bad, they are a bit stalkerish but it’s Trent so it’s all justifiable. The way he sees Roku though? The way he feels about the man and all that he does makes Trent super swoony and then when we learn more about Trent and what’s behind those contacts and what he can do with his hands… gah! He’s just amazing.

But this story, this whole world of fae and magic just blew my mind and I honestly don’t know how to review the full story without spoiling it and I would hate to do that. I will say that nothing is as it seems and just when you think you have a firm grasp on what’s going on, it slithers away from you and shape shifts into something far darker and magical than you, or at least I could have imagined.

I adored this book, if you can’t tell from my rambling. As I said before, Ford has a way with storytelling that is truly cinematic and everything flies off the page in living color that it’s almost tangible. You can smell the food, you can see the wings of the good and the bad fae with their vivid colors, you can see the spelled… everything as it comes alive and you can feel every damn emotion as they bleed into your soul. Was that too much? *shrugs*

While I am still new to the genre of Urban Fantasy I have to say I am falling in love with it. At first it was hard because I am a true hopeless romantic and it’s what I live for but in a story like this, the romance being as it is, not the primary focus, just makes it that much more intense when you get it. Like, you get the moments between Roku and Trent from the beginning, the flirting and the obvious lust between them but once each barrier is broken down and then you get them – really get them – something as simple as going through a door together brings so much swoon you better hope you are sitting down because the emotion will sit you firmly on your ass.

Yeah, this book was sexy. And it was also so deeply entrenched with family dynamics, clan politics and magic that my fingers can’t keep up with my brain as I try to explain how amazing it was. Even Bob the Cat was not only hilarious but freaking great! The story was intense and magical and I hope this becomes a series because there is so much more Trent needs to learn and so much more I need between him and Roku and that end? More, I just need more. Kay?

You know how I can tell when I a book is really good? When I don’t need to even go over my highlights and notes to write a review. I know I have a ton because that’s the way I operate but I am not even going to touch them right now because I need to hide them and keep them safe before I share. Call me selfish, call me weird, call me whatever but right now, I don’t wanna share.

Dim Sum Asylum - the name of the Arcane division of the San Francisco Police Department – was an intriguing and sexy story of one half human, half fae Inspector who’s only half living his life until he meets his new partner and allows him to open him up in oh so many ways. It’s a story about living your full life, taking chances, not killing your elders and making sure the magic, stays where it belongs.

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