Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
After Miki survives the tragic accident that killed his best friend and the other members of their band, Sinner’s Gin, all he wants is to hide from the world in the refurbished warehouse he bought before their last tour. But when the man who sexually abused him as a boy is killed and his remains are dumped in Miki’s car, Miki fears Death isn’t done with him yet.
Kane Morgan, the SFPD inspector renting space in the art co-op next door, initially suspects Miki had a hand in the man’s murder, but Kane soon realizes Miki is as much a victim as the man splattered inside the GTO. As the murderer’s body count rises, the attraction between Miki and Kane heats up. Neither man knows if they can make a relationship work, but despite Miki’s emotional damage, Kane is determined to teach him how to love and be loved — provided, of course, Kane can catch the killer before Miki becomes the murderer’s final victim.
I arrived late at the Rhys Ford doorstep and am now reaping the benefits of being able to binge read through Ford’s amazing series starting with Sinners. What a rich tapestry Rhys Ford weaves with this first tale in the series, Sinner’s Gin. A musician, wounded in body and soul, a modern Gaelic warrior, read that police officer, who sees the treasure buried beneath the scabs and scars and a murderer bringing the past back with him makes this a story I couldn’t put down from the moment I started it. And did I mention a dog so entreatingly, believably scruffy and well, terrier true that he stole my heart as well? I wolfed down Sinner’s Gin the way Dude would a fine piece of steak, ok, any piece of steak. With groans of appreciation and a longing for more.
Sinner’s Gin, a band destroyed by a drunken driver which left one member alive to mourn the loss of not just the band but its members he called family, and the man Damien that Miki thought of as his brother. After a tramatic prologue, Ford drops us into what’s left of Miki St. John’s life and its depressed and ugly. Subsisting on booze and junk food, the only thing keeping Miki from death is the thought that Damie’s hateful parents would inherent his music rights (and other things) and use them in ways Damien opposed. That fight keeps him alive, just barely. Ford brings this despondent man alive, from his caustic thoughts to his life at the stripped down warehouse which we see through his eyes. It will take several grisly events and a scruffy terrier to get Miki moving again, the foremost is a eviscerated body dumped on the GTO Damien bought him. That brings his past back and Kane Morgan into his life.
Kane Morgan is not a solitary creation. And how I thank Rhys Ford for this. Kane Morgan stomps into the story and our hearts carrying with him the Clan Morgan from mother Brigid who could teach the warrior queen Boadicea a thing or two to Donal, the “da”, a father so huge and elemental that he is frequently described as Ent like (a description I not only loved but could see). It doesn’t stop there. Conner, the oldest brother, the twins Kiki and Ryan, Braden, Riley, Ian and Quinn. And yes I know I got the order wrong. Six boys and two girls. A cousin, Sionn on the Finnegan side. You take all that Irish, all that Gaelic love, heart, and fire and when added together it become narrative magic. One that carries over from book to book. Oh, and except for Quinn, who in another book or alternate universe would have turned out to be a mage, they are all law enforcement officers or firefighters or something just fierce. They are that known entity….an Irish dynasty found in police and firefighter families everywhere.
Not one of which is slighted in the character department. Each person is rooted deeply not only in the family and story but in the authenticity of their characters. In their very believability they carry weight within them, a depth of feeling and soul. But each is so different from the other, even if only slightly. And its that slight difference that makes them feel so much like family, along with a dialog and family dynamics that anyone with siblings will recognize.
Yes, I have to mention Dude. I have terriers. Dude is a terrier and continuing character. Yes, you should never give them broccoli. The farts are catastrophic and profound. It speaks of research or at least close proximity with terriers who are fond of greens.
The plot and killer will make you heartsick at times and adds in an element that continues through all the stories. That of musicians with wounded, abused backgrounds that will find their way into a new band with Mike St. John and into the Morgan family Clan. Music runs through this story and series, music is in lyrics at the beginning of the chapters or in mentions of favorite bands beings ticked off by Morgan sons. It flows everywhere.
By the end of this amazing story I was reaching for Whiskey and Wry (Sinner’s #2), hearing the beat of the Bodhrán pounding in my ears, growing louder as well as my anticipation for what I knew was coming next. The startling ending of Sinner’s Gin had me on edge and now I’m more than ready for my journey to continue with the Clan Morgan and the musicians they love.
I highly recommend this story and the next, and well, the entire series. Rhys Ford has quickly become a “go to” author for me I love it when that happens. Need a new author to love? A new series to read? Grab up Sinner’s Gin by Rhys Ford and get started. Amazing people and things await you!
Cover art by Reece Notley. I really like the covers for this book and the series, all done by the same artist. Great job.
- Sinner’s Gin (Sinners, #1)
- Hair Of The Dog (Sinners, #1.5) free download at the author’s website
- Whiskey and Wry (Sinners, #2)
- The Devil’s Brew (Sinners, #2.5)
- Tequila Mockingbird (Sinners #3)
- Rotgut Gin (Sinners, #3.5)
- Sloe Ride (Sinners, #4)