In an alternate San Francisco, the human and magical worlds have collided in a big, messy way. Fairies, dragons and other magical creatures mix with humans, and it’s the job of the San Francisco Police Department’s Arcane Crimes unit to make sure nobody misuses magic for nefarious purposes. The Chinatown headquarters, known by its officers as the “Dim Sum Asylum”, is where most of the action is, and where Detective Roku calls home.
Right now, Roku has his hands full. First, he has to break in a new partner, having shot the last one when he turned out to be dirty, then together they need to figure out who is animating temple offerings with murderous intent. Things get even more complicated when it appears the murders involve Roku’s estranged grandfather, a powerful yakuza chieftain.
I suppose you could describe “Dim Sum Asylum” as a mash-up of the worlds of Blade Runner and Harry Potter. The fantasy, mystery and romance aspects of the story balance out rather well. The story may not be believable, but it paints a rather realistic picture of a world where fairies and dragons exist alongside humans. I had a little trouble at first trying to picture the San Francisco I lived in for a few years with the city described here, but after a while I just decided to go with it.
Roku is a rather classic anti-hero archetype. He comes from a background where he could have been a bad guy just as easily as a cop, and there is still the potential for him to cross over to the dark side. Although Roku is a character type we easily recognize, he is still richly drawn as a full-fledged person that we can empathize with as he struggles to solve a case, and walk a fine line regarding his family connections.
Trent, Roku’s new partner, is a little more of a mystery, but that’s what he is to Roku as well, so we get to know him as Roku does. He is definitely an interesting character, and one suspects there may be a sequel that tells us more about Trent’s background.
“Dim Sum Asylum” is available from Amazon.