Cole McGinnis Mysteries : Dirty Deeds
Title : Dirty Deeds
Author : Rhys Ford
Series : Cole McGinnis Mysteries, Book 4
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 228 pages (e-book)
Published : March 28, 2014
Rating : ★★★★★
Sheila Pinelli needed to be taken out.
Former cop turned private investigator Cole McGinnis never considered committing murder. But six months ago, when Jae-Min’s blood filled his hands and death came knocking at his lover’s door, killing Sheila Pinelli became a definite possibility.
While Sheila lurks in some hidden corner of Los Angeles, Jae and Cole share a bed, a home, and most of all, happiness. They’d survived Jae’s traditional Korean family disowning him and plan on building a new life—preferably one without the threat of Sheila’s return hanging over them.
Thanks to the Santa Monica police mistakenly releasing Sheila following a loitering arrest, Cole finally gets a lead on Sheila’s whereabouts. That is, until the trail goes crazy and he’s thrown into a tangle of drugs, exotic women, and more death. Regardless of the case going sideways, Cole is determined to find the woman he once loved as a sister and get her out of their lives once and for all.
I don’t know if everyone feels some trepidation when picking up a sequel or the next book in a series, but I do. Sometimes, that feeling is warranted and I’m disappointed, but sometimes…well, I’ve finished Rhys Ford’s “Dirty Deeds,” Book Four in the Cole McGinnis series and I’m happy dancing. HAPPY DANCING.
Rhys grabbed me in Chapter 1 as Bobby, Claudia and Cole work what should be an “easy paycheck” stakeout for an insurance company. I laughed out loud several times as the trio’s simple job becomes a complex free-for-all and the neighborhood comes alive with colorful, curse slinging, opportunistic, wonderful characters bent on taking what’s not theirs as Bobby fends off his droopy-pajama-wearing, insurance defrauding suspect who who has been eyeing Claudia as his “Afternoon Delight” and a little, elderly woman with a protective Chihuahua. The images Rhys’ words conjure are priceless and all the while, the majestic Claudia stands above it all. I love Claudia. In this book her role as Cole’s mom-of-the-heart deepens and is cemented. I’ve looked forward to that moment because Cole deserves this mom who has reared eight sons to keep him on his toes and to love him.
Rhys’ writing is richer and more full-bodied with each book she produces. In this one, the plot is tighter and more focused. Cole is working on giving Jae time and space to heal after Cole’s dead partner’s wife, Sheila, shot Jae in the previous book “Dirty Laundry.” When Cole learns Sheila was in police custody, but was released, he is livid and consumed with protecting Jae from his dead partner’s maniacal, addict widow because losing his former lover was enough pain for a lifetime. (If you haven’t read this series, begin with “Dirty Kiss” so you fully appreciate the the characters’s growth and the back history. You will be so rewarded.)
Once he knows Sheila is free and too close for comfort, Cole begins a methodical search for Jae’s attacker and we are plunged into Rhys’ amazing world where she mixes cultures with ease into a teaming, layered, vivid backdrop for mystery/suspense and Cole’s evolving relationship with Jae. “Dirty Deeds,” which is told from Cole’s point of view, is funny, sad, frightening and satisfying. Along the way, we reconnect with Jae, who is out of the closet with his family and seemingly happier; Cole’s protective brother Mike and Neko, Jae’s cat. Cole’s best friend Bobby and Claudia are on the scene and, interestingly, Cole reaches a detente with Detective Dell O’Byrne who first appeared in “Dirty Kiss.” I love this fascinating cast of characters who provide texture, warmth and tension for this ongoing series. Rhys’ careful development of secondary characters is a joy to read as they mature into a heady support team for our boys.
As the investigation proceeds, Cole walks a fine line between the present and the past. He plunges into a morass of old friends, drugs, death and exotic women and dangerous men. Secrets are revealed, questions are answered, but happily new questions surface. I’ve said this before, but Rhys can write a villain. Just WOW. Her descriptive prose and the attention to detail she pays to these despicable characters are remarkable, but in this story, she also deftly gives us glimpses of Sheila’s humanity. Tough to do for a woman whose soul is shriveled beyond recognition to Cole.
And, the ending in the epilogue is a cliffhanger that is seriously WICKED. OK, no one can be surprised, I can’t wait for the next one.
Applause for you, Ms. Rhys Ford.
Rated 5 stars by Carli