Blood Red Butterfly
Title : Blood Red Butterfly
Author : Josh Lanyon
Publisher : Just Joshin
Genre : M/M, Mystery, Suspense, Romance
Length : 28,910 words (e-book)
Published : February 17, 2013
Despite falling for aloof manga artist Kai Tashiro, Homicide Detective Ryo Miller is determined to break the alibi Kai is supplying his murderous boyfriend–even if it means breaking Kai with it.
OK, I am not an expert on Asian culture and I’ve never read manga, but I know what I like. And I like this heart-thumping novella.
Blood Red Butterfly, Josh Lanyon’s nod to yaoi (a sub-genre of Japanese manga), weaves complicated threads of human fragility, generational schisms, acceptance of self, and Asian and Hispanic cultures into one sensational story of murder, suspense and romance.
Few authors are better at taking a trope for a new spin than Lanyon, and his take on tough guy and sweet guy is tightly drawn and it works perfectly. LA Homicide Detective Ryo Miller is determined to prove Mickey Torres is a murderer, but to do that, Ryo must disprove the alibi provided by manga artist Kai Tashiro — the “Ice Princess” and Torres’ lover. The game is on!
Single-minded Detective Ryo takes every opportunity to doggedly pursue Kai, assuring himself, “It’s all about the case.” But, is it?
If possible, Tashiro looked even more bewildered.
“Forget it,” Ryo said. “I just…believe it or not, I don’t want to see you get hurt. It’s not all about my case, okay?”
“You’re full of shit. This is totally about your case.”
Probably. Ryo hoped so. He wasn’t sure, though.
“No. Let me prove it.”
Tashiro asked warily, “Prove it how?”
And to his shock, Ryo said exactly what he was thinking—though maybe thinking wasn’t the word because this was simply what he wanted, had wanted since the first time he’d seen Kai Tashiro sitting in the corner of that funky little club.
“Let me take you home.”
Feel the heat? I did, and it gets hotter as the two give in first to lust and then to love.
Lanyon’s mastery of nuanced dialogue allows us to experience what Ryo and Kai become to one another as the sexual temperature spikes. Their relationship is sometimes heart wrenching, sometimes hot, and always riveting. Lanyon keeps us focused on the whodunit while he makes us care about the men in the mystery.
This compact and focused story has it all: humor, darkness, passion and suspense. The suspense sharpens as Ryo comes to terms with issues about himself, Kai and his job. Kai, who is caught in a deadly battle of wits between Torres and Ryo, struggles with his feelings about family, personal secrets and trust as he comes to terms with his feelings for Ryo.
What Lanyon is able to communicate in so few words in this novella is amazing. (It always is.) The main characters are memorable, the world-building wonderful, the suspense tight and satisfying as he crafts a tale that will keep readers on the edge of their seats while he ratchets up the suspense with crisp but visually descriptive writing to a breath-holding, movie-like conclusion.
I rooted for Ryo and Kai throughout this well-paced, beautifully written story. I’m looking forward to the reread because Josh Lanyon has given us a fascinating new world in which to immerse ourselves. I recommend it whole-heartedly. Oh yeah baby, he’s back!
Rated 5 stars by Carli