Title: Ramen Assassin (Ramen Assassin #1)
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Page Count: 216
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
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.
I greatly enjoyed this book. It was quirky and humorous. The mystery aspect was engaging. The characters were varied enough to keep the plot interesting. And the plot pulled me right along; I had a hard time putting this one down.
Our main character, Trey, has some significant flaws: former child star now a drug and alcohol addict, can’t live up to the exceedingly high expectations of his wealthy and powerful father or step-sisters, has been working hard to stay sober. He’s in the wrong place at the wrong time and the confluence of events that spiral outward from there is just interesting.
Our other main character, Kuro, was forcibly retired from black ops and now runs a raman shop. When Trey literally falls at his feet, he can’t help but save the underdog. Kuro has his own baggage and has been attracted to Trey for a while but hasn’t dared hope for anything beyond feeding him good noodles.
The supporting characters ranged from likeable to massively annoying, which worked in this story. A few were cookie-cutter characters, probably my only complaint with the overall plot, but, again, I was so tickled with the rest of the book that I didn’t mind.
If you’ve enjoyed earlier Rhys Ford books, you’ll probably enjoy this one. If you’re newer to this author, and you enjoy mysteries/suspense books, I recommend giving this a whirl. It’s fast paced, emotionally engaging, a sweet romance, and just fun to read.