Ramen Assassin (Colin’s Review)

Title: Ramen Assassin (Ramen Assassin #1)
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Genre(s): Mystery/Suspense, Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 216 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Ramen Assassin: Book One

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 him. After rescuing former child star Trey Bishop from a pair of thugs in the middle of the night, he knows it’s time to pick up his gun again. But it seems trouble isn’t done with Trey, and Kuro can’t quite let go… of either the gun or Trey Bishop.

Trey Bishop never denied his life’s downward spiral was his own fault. After a few stints in rehab, he’s finally shaken off his Hollywood bad-boy lifestyle but not his reputation. The destruction of his acting career and his relationships goes deep, and no one trusts anything he says, including the LAPD. When two men dragging a dead body spot him on a late-night run and try to murder him, Trey is grateful for the tall, dark, and deadly ramen shop owner he lusts over—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 deep, dark secrets. Trey hopes Kuro Jenkins 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.

The author provides strong characterisation and a solid context in this pretty standard fair murder mystery. The story is built around two characters whose present has little to do with their past. Both aim to move forward with their lives but their histories make a last showing that throws them together. The plot is built around the chance witnessing of an act. What follows builds on the premise that both central characters were in the wrong place at the wrong time, they had an existing attraction and that none of this is given credence by those around them. As such, they draw on one another and fall into a relationship.

If the reader can get past this happenstance then the plot offers some interesting interplay between the central characters and those they bounce off, with good development of some interesting secondary characters. Tension is maintained by these interactions as well as by the threats made to life and limb. This latter could have been enhanced, as they didn’t feel particularly threatening. There is death and certainly one of the dead characters is quite central to the plot, even here the author provides twists.

Whilst it is acknowledged that there was an existing attraction between the two central characters, the bond that develops between them is quite quick given the very different backgrounds they bring to the story. That they are going to get together is never in doubt, despite the best efforts of those around them. Both are dominant products of their histories and neither is likely to do more than take advice under advisement. There is some sex, and this is described well, but mostly the relationship is based around their feelings for one another.

There is a steady pace to the story with intermittent action scenes that appear without warning. The plot is more interesting than gripping, but it holds you and there are sufficient variation and twists to keep the reader’s attention.

The revelation as to who did it and why comes late in the book and whilst it was not flagged, it was not a huge surprise. In fact, it is one of the weaker parts of the story as there is some monologuing to fill in the blanks. The story ends with the couple having their happily ever after and reconciliation with those around them. This is maybe a little too neat given the twists that were inserted to get them to this point. There are no loose threads so it is to be assumed that the next book in the series will take the reader in a different direction.

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Galley copy of Ramen Assassin provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.

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