Title: Ramen Assassin (Ramen Assassin #1)
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Genre: MM Romance, Contemporary
Format: eBook, Print
Length: 82,319 Words / 216 Pages
Rating: 3+ Stars
When life gives Kuro Jenkins lemons, he wants to make ponzu to serve at his Los Angeles ramen shop.
Instead he’s dodging bullets and wondering how the hell he ended up back in the black ops lifestyle he left behind. After rescuing former child star Trey Bishop from a pair of murderous thugs, he reluctantly picks his guns up again. It seems trouble isn’t done with Trey, and Kuro can’t quite let go… of either danger or Trey.
Trey never denied his life’s downward spiral was his own fault. After stints in rehab, he’s finally shaken off his Hollywood bad-boy lifestyle, but not his reputation. The destruction of his career and relationships was epic, and no one trusts anything he says, including the LAPD. When two men dragging a dead body spot him on a late-night run, then try to murder him, Trey is thankful for the tall, dark, and deadly ramen shop owner not just for rescuing him, but also for believing him.
Now caught in a web of murders and lies, Trey knows someone wants him dead, and the only one on his side is a man with dark secrets. Trey hopes Kuro will stick around to see what the future holds for them once the dust settles, but from the looks of things, neither of them may survive to find out.
♦ Personal Thought ♦
Leave it to Rhys Ford to come up with title – and story – that include food (in case of the story, a number of yumeh-sounding dishes) in it. RAMEN ASSASSIN is the first entry to her new series with the same name. Set in Koreatown, LA, this book brought together former operative turned ramen shop owner, Kurotsuki Jenkins, and former child star, Trey Bishop. Kuro saved Trey when he was being shot at after accidentally witnessing a couple of thugs moving a corpse. The chain of incidents that followed had Kuro come out of “retirement” to find out who’s after Trey and put a stop to all of it.
Started up at a run – literary – RAMEN ASSASSIN is a fast pace and vigorous action romance, told alternately from the two lead characters’ POVs. It’s a compelling enough story what’s with all the dodging, ruction, running, the ranging of supporting characters – and did I mention the food!?! – involving our MCs with one or more opponents. It’s also somewhat heartbreaking, in light of our character’s past and the consequences of their action.
What I didn’t fully take in was the slightly choppy flow and – after the intense almost animosity early on – the shift in reception felt a bit thick. That Trey resigned himself of his past actions and just took what he believed as his due was soon getting tiresome, but the about-turn needed some work. I mean, I get that this is an early stage in the series and things (between the characters and their “family”) might progress with the following sequels, but I kinda wish the bridge between what seen as wasted persona to believable felt more constructive. In a story involving a somewhat dysfunctional family, what I look forward wast the working of things of how all concerned made the most of almost none. That’s what I found lacking here. I wasn’t too keen on the mystery-solving aspect of it. Yes, Kuro is the hero of the story, but him power things down in almost no time (yes, the police was proving to be useless sob for the entire book) struck me as one-dimensional.
I’m on the fence over Trey and Kuro seemingly instant attachment. As the pair stressed more than once, they’d known each other – more like eyeing each other – for months before all hell broke loose catapulted the process. Followed by the traumatic blow which made Trey sudden attachment to Kuro inevitable. Still, I kinda wish for more phase for these two latching on each other. Considering the amount of food Kuro feeding Trey though, it’s no wonder he folded so quickly. Heh.
All in all, I think of RAMEN ASSASSIN as a merry read, if need a bit of tweak. A nice start to what sounded like promising series. Fingers-crossed the following sequels would be doubly exciting.
Copy of this book is kindly given by the author in exchange for an honest review.