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.
Anyone who knows me will tell you...I'm a Rhys Ford fan...
So no big secret there and needless to say when 'Ramen Assassin' was offered up for review I wanted it...again no big secret there. I've read pretty much every word that Ms Ford has committed to paper...virtual, figurative and audio. I've read the 'Sinners', Cole McGinnis, '415 Ink.', 'Murder & Mayhem', 'Hellsinger', 'Halfmoon Bay' and on and on...Rhys Ford writes it and I read it and so far this has worked really, really well for me and this has not changed.
'Ramen Assassin' is the first book in a new series by Ms. Ford where were are introduced to Trey a 28 year old who's life so far has been a roller coaster of highs and lows as his career as a child actor gave him years of success that was quickly followed by a roller coaster rid of drug and alcohol abuse, numerous stays in a variety of rehab centers. Trey's life is the stuff of soap operas because along with his personal collection of bad life choices he's got the family that not only put the 'fun' in dys'fun'ctional but they sucked it right back out again as well. After his last stint in rehab Trey swore that he was going to get his act together and he's stuck to his promise to himself and that's how he came to be on Kuro Jenkins' radar.
Kuro's the sexy owner of the local Ramen shop that Trey likes to frequent and jog past when the devil on his shoulder becomes too much to deal with and Trey feels the need to wear himself out with running so that he's too tired to chase the need...the addiction that courses through his veins calling to him...tempting him. When he can't stand it anymore Trey runs and when he can Kuro watches and he may lust after the sexy young man who spends his time trying to outrun his demons and seeks sustenance in his ramen shop from time to time.
Trey's family has been through the mill with his escapades over the years and I get that really I do but honestly I can't help but wonder how much of their toxic behavior towards him hasn't contributed to his struggles. I get that ultimately Trey is responsible for Trey's behavior but addiction is an illness and having a family whose attitude seems to be that he's going to fail before he's ever really tried can't be very helpful.
But while Trey's family may have fallen short of the mark...Kuro was amazing. He believed in Trey when no one else seemed to and yet, he didn't do it blindly and for me it felt like he wanted to believe in Trey but he also knew that Trey's struggles to stay sober were ongoing and that what he was dealing with wasn't going to go away but Kuro wanted to be there for the long haul. He wanted to be that person that Trey could depend on and I'm a total sucker for second chance stories so this just worked 100% for me.
it's not until Trey finds his life in jeopardy that he and Kuro actually cross each other's paths and it's thanks to Kuro that Trey doesn't suddenly find his life ending abruptly and unexpectedly in an alley one night until Kuro who may be run a ramen restaurant now had another life and that life equipped him with the skills he needs to keep Trey alive.
I loved that Trey was sincerely working on getting his life straightened out. He wasn't trying to blame everyone else for his screw-ups rather he was taking ownership of what he'd done and trying to move on and be a better person. That Kuro was willing to believe in Trey not just because he was interested in him but because he trusted his own instincts and those instincts told him that Trey was worth the effort.
As Trey and Kuro work together to solve the mystery of who wants not only Trey dead but Kuro, we're introduced to a collection of secondary characters set against the background for a new series that promises to be every bit as entertaining as 'Cole McGinnis', 'Murder & Mayhem' or any of the other thoroughly enjoyable stories crafted by this author.
If you're a fan of Rhys Ford, this one's definitely recommended, if you've never read Rhys Ford, seriously? what are you waiting for...this is as good a time as any to start. So grab your e-reader and a bowl of ramen, curl up in a comfy chair and enjoy.
*************************An ARC of 'Ramen Assassin' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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