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.
Hi! I am Rhys Ford and I would like to welcome you to this stop on the Ramen Assassin Blog Tour!
I am looking forward to introducing you a new series as well as two very fun characters I enjoyed writing, Kuro Jenkins and Trey Bishop. The first book, Ramen Assassin, came to me as a nebulous idea but then really pushed into the forefront of my brain while I was beginning to write Hellion, the third book in the 415 Ink series. Unfortunately, I scared TA Moore with a very bad habit of mine called staring into space while thinking. I was contemplating the ins and outs of a series called Ramen Assassin and she took my crazed, unfocused look as the possibility of a spider of the wall behind her.
There was no spider. But what did come out of it was a murder mystery about a former government operative turned ramen chef and the recovering drug addict, former child star he saves from certain death and eventually falls in love with.
This book allowed me to combine two things I love — killing people and cooking. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. On this blog tour, I’m going to be sharing a few of my favorite dishes as well as a how to throw together ramen with what you have in your pantry and refrigerator. Please be sure to hit up every single stop on the blog tour for a different recipe at each stop as well as that blog’s giveaway!
Be sure to enter to win a twenty dollar gift certificate from Dreamspinnerpress.com! One for every stop!
And now, onto the food…
Seared Duck Breast with Guava Jam & Jalapeno Sauce
4 (6-ounce) boneless duck breasts (if butterflied, cut down the middle to separate)
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 small sweet onion, minced
3 tablespoons minced garlic or 3 med sized garlic cloves minced
2 medium sized jalapenos (deseeded and minced). Can use canned. Adjust to taste and heat level. Green chiles can also be used
1/4 cup water (or wine if you want)
1/2 cup guava jam
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
2-3 tablespoons of duck drippings (from searing)
Preheat oven to 350º F.
With the duck skin side up, score the skin with a sharp knife. Maybe 1/4 inch deep, 4-5 cuts at 45º angle. Can do a criss cross the other way if you like.
Mix the salt and pepper together and rub the mixture into the meat side of the duck.
Heat a non-stick pan (or good cast iron skillet) to high heat. When pan is hot, put duck in skin side down and let cook for 5 mins or until skin is browned/crispy. Turn over to meat side and cook for another 2-3 minutes. It might look a little funky but the fat will render down and the meat will plump up later.
Take pan off stove and turn off the heat. Remove duck from pan and put onto foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 6 minutes.
Discard most of the drippings from the pan. Try to leave about 2-3 tablespoons. Return to stove on medium heat and add the onions, garlic and fresh jalapenos, browning them. If you have canned, don’t add it here. Add it last and make sure it’s drained well.
Add enough water (or wine) to loosen the duck bits in the pan (deglazing it).
Add jam, vinegar (and jalapenos/green chilis if canned) and stir until well blended and hot. About 3 minutes.
If you want a thicker sauce, mix cornstarch and cold water together until you have a milky slurry then slowly drizzle it into the jam sauce, stirring as you go. Don’t add a lot in as it will thicken quickly. Add and stir for a bit to see how thick it gets.
Remove from heat.
Remove duck from oven and slice each breast at an angle, preferably about 1/4 inch strips. Duck should look like medium rare steak. You CAN cook it longer if you prefer it more cooked. It’s up to you.
Plate and drizzle guava sauce over the duck or serve sauce on the side to dip. Serve with fried rice recipe below or rice or noodles. Of course, veggies as well.
Click Here for Rhys Ford’s Fried Recipe (what was served with the duck in the book)
5 out of 5 (exceptional)
Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
When Trey witnesses a dead body being dragged into a van, and then he gets shot at, he never thought the guy who has invaded his dreams would be the one to save him. He makes noodles all day, how can the man possibly pack more fire power than the bad guys, huh? Kuro thought he had left all that behind in the blaze of bullets that followed him to the embassy. But no, here he is, standing over the cute guy who comes in most days, shooting at the bad guys trying to shoot Trey. And then someone shoots at him. And Kuro sees red. Someone has to stand up for Trey, cos his own sister won't!
You never EVER know, from reading a Ford blurb, which way a book will go. You all do it, you read a blurb and your brain goes, Yup, that's what is gonna happen and then you start reading and whatever you had in mind goes right up in smoke!
so, Devastating? check. Emotional? check. Deadly? Murderous? check. Sexy? check, check and check!
I loved Kuro and Trey, both together and separately. The way their stories mesh together is brilliant. I loved that they had both been eyeing each other up, but neither one wanted to make a move. The fact that Kuro let Trey sit at the back table every time he came in, had not gone unnoticed by his staff. The eyes Trey made at Kuro had not gone unnoticed either.
Trey's history could be any child star in today's world. A rise to fame, from a very young age, and a meteoric fall from grace that left him in everyone's bad books, his family especially. I hated his sister! She was so mean to Trey right when Trey needed her, and when Kuro takes up his case, Kuro gives Trey's sister such a piece of his mind, it's a wonder the woman wasn't reduced a pile of goo!
The whodunnit is a long winded (and long planned out!) and complicated plot, and I loved how it all went down!
This is billed as book one in the Ramen Assassin series. I have no idea whether Kuro and Trey will be the centre of each book, or some of Kuro's associates will be, I don't really care, to be honest! I just wanna read them!
And oh! The food! The food Kuro cooks sounds so yummy! Even when he does what I would call a "cupboard dinner" basically, whatever was in Trey's cupboards and fridge, it was yum! I was drooling, for God's sake! I can only hope Ms Ford does some sort of recipe thing with the book tour, I will have to switch the ramen for rice noodles, but Lord, PULEEEEZE let there be recipes!
I love Rhys Ford, you know I do, and I have so MISSED the way she spins her tales! One sitting read, 200 odd pages, 2.5 hours, and boom! More, I need more!
5 full and shiny stars
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series and is a two-time LAMBDA finalist with her Murder and Mayhem novels. She is also a 2017 Gold and Silver Medal winner in the Florida Authors and Publishers President's Book Awards for her novels Ink and Shadows and Hanging the Stars. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications. She's also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn't mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Harley, a grey tuxedo with a flower on her face, Badger, a disgruntled alley cat who isn't sure living inside is a step up the social ladder as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people. Her narrators include: Hailing from the chilly hills of upstate New York, award-winning narrator Greg Tremblay lends his voice to Rhys Ford's "Kai Gracen" and "Cole McGinnis" series, "Murder and Mayhem" and a number of stand alone works. She is also narrated by Tristan James, a fabulous talent who voices her "Sinners", "Hellsinger" and "415 Ink" series, and Derrick McClain, a rising, vibrant narrator who voices her "Wayward Wolves" series. In addition, Spencer Goss provides a rich narration for Fish Stick Fridays, the first novel in her Half Moon Bay series.